Friday, November 20, 2009

The Half Moon in Putney

It's a bit of a schlep from Barnet but we put on our patience costumes and stop-started round the North Circular, arriving just in time to treat ourselves to some Italian food at a lovely little Italian restaurant diagonally opposite the venue, sitting in a tent thing that sprouted from the front of the restaurant at a little table with a green-and-white checkered oilcloth over it.
Jimmy Cole the banjo player was waiting for us; Liza P was poorly and couldn't come along which was a shame as I'd been looking forward to seeing her and hearing her.
Soundcheckman was young and agreeable and as Martin and Jimmy checked the guitar and banjo I realised that the P.A. system was fabulous and that Soundcheckman has really good ears- he pulled all the characterful sounds out of the little Martin guitar and did the same with the banjo, and then got Martin's vocal sounding mellow and strong at the same time. This made me feel that it was going to be a very good evening.
I went on first, and like the Leicester gig, although I had felt at the end of my last drop of energy before I went on, once I got up there I was happy as a lark and really enjoyed it- my guitar just seemed to play itself and I felt comfortable and as though all the experiences of the past three years had made me stronger, and not weaker (as I feel sometimes).
It felt as though I knew so much what I wanted to say in my songs that I was saying it for other people as well and therefore deserved to be heard! And it felt as though the people in the audience were really listening and understanding, and that feeling is better than winning the lottery, I can tell you.
There was a chap there who was a dedicated Chefs fan and who told me he had got all my music since then, which was music to my ears (ha ha), and a couple who had really enjoyed the Helen and the Horns set at the Borderline.
Martin's set was brilliant: he started off as a comedian, making people practically fall off their seats with laughter, and once their guard was down he set off on a musical journey that took him through favourites like Rain, through Charlie Poole, to a section that sounded Celtic as Jimmy joined him onstage.
Jimmy is not a flashy showoff banjo player, but a steady presence on stage and the banjo sat very well inside Martin's songs, never overpowering them, just complementing the music. He'd come up to play Loverman with me, joining Martin on the Martin guitar, and making us into a little string band. It was interesting, musically.
Martin finished solo, and afterwards a guy came up from the audience and told him that he'd had an awful day at work but Martin had completely cheered him up and made him feel better about life.
What better compliment could an artist have than that?

I missed the launch of Katy Carr's album but I hope to hear from her this weekend how that all went.

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