Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
The Clapham Grand, London 23 September 2011
The doors opened at spot on 7.30pm and only two people were in the queue
ahead of me... behind me there were none. Oh dear, I hoped this wasn't
going to be one of those nights when bands worthy of seeing were going
to play to an empty room.
By eight a few more people had wandered into this fine old venue in time
for the first act of the night, an acoustic set from Jimmy Sharp.
I'd previously seen him, with a full band, at the Indigo2 in July so I
was intrigued to see what he would be like on his own.
As then, his
brand of folksy pop failed to capture the audience, with most of his
songs drowned out by the chattering of the 20 or so people in the venue,
the exception being a four strong "
near the front of the stage
who gave him as much vocal support as they could manage.
consisted mainly of his own songs with a few covers thrown in for good
measure, but his so-so performance was undeserving of a 10 song set.
Truly an over-indulgence on the part of the promoters.
Set List: Island, Everything You Wanted, Blood Tears & Gold (Hurts
cover), Can I have Some?, Kids (MGMT cover), Ruby, Drug Group, Dakota (Stereophonics
cover), Skinny Love and Face Like Karma
Next up were
September Rain, a four piece Indie band from Ipswich who only
formed at the beginning of the year. It seems, according to their
publicity at least, that they are taking Ipswich by storm and recently
won a regional talent contest as well as opening a local music festival.
and coming bands in Ipswich must be few and far between if this is the
best that town can offer. More time needs to be spent rehearsing and a
change of vocalist is required if this band is not to sink without
Out of tune
and lacking any depth or strength to her voice, the vocalist resorted to
shouting some of her lyrics. If you feel this reviewer is being
unnecessarily cruel, a quick search of a well known video hosting site
will reveal a clip from Friday's show that will expose the band's, and
especially her, shortcomings. I even overheard someone say "
like a chain-smoking cat being strangled"
That just about summed it up!
Set List: unknown first song, Dirty Little Secret (All American Rejects
cover), We're Not There, Sights and Beautiful Monster (Ne-Yo cover)
Whilst the evening had started poorly and then plumbed depths I could
hardly have imagined, at least I knew the next act would restore my
faith in live music.
Stapley is one of the most talented singer songwriters yet to break
into the general public's consciousness.
As well as
his own band, Jim has provided vocals and fronted for both Two Faced, a
Faces cover band, and Apart From Rod, which comprises the original
members of Rod Stewart's backing band after he left The Faces.
with his own material that Jim obviously feels most comfortable with. As
a support act, we were treated to a shorter set than usual, but it was
nonetheless a pleasant change to hear musicians at the top of their game
and a singer whose vocal range and depth of feeling brought music back
to life again.
up-tempo, foot stomping bluesy rock songs like Love is Surrender and My
Way Home, to more whimsical and soulful offerings such as See You Next
Tuesday, Jim Stapley offers the audience all his heart and soul with a
generous topping of raw emotion. It's music that makes the hairs on the
back of your neck stand on end.
Set List: Love Is Surrender, Gimme What You Got Tonight, Just Call, See
You Next Tuesday, It's All Over, Somewhere and My Way Home
Jimmy Stapley Photo Gallery
from Jim Stapley and his band were a group that have recently started
making waves. Clearly influenced by the likes of Nickleback, Creed, Guns
n' Roses and Led Zep, Silverbox are a band to watch out for.
Mixing complex melodies with raw, emotional, back rhythms, the twin
guitars of Ryan Hunt and Julian Martin-Samos complement the energetic
vocals of frontman John Wyse, while Steve Hepburn (Bass) and Keith
Button (Drums) power the rhythm section.
dark and dirty blues riffs to almost evangelical, heart rending ballads,
this is a band that obviously doesn't wish to be pigeon-holed into any
one category of music. That they manage to pull off such a dexterous
feat is down to raw talent, which they have in abundance.
That much of
the crowd at the Grand were loyal fans of the band no doubt helped the
chemistry on stage, but I defy an audience who had never heard them
before not to come away without feeling they had just witnessed
something special... that's certainly the way I felt.
Set List: Oblivion, Under The Radar, Shinedown, Gravity, Cross We Bare,
Femme Fatal and Tortuga
for the evening was Stewart Mac whose new album Little White Lies
is due for imminent release. It's unfair to make the obvious comparisons
with Don Henley or Tom Petty, because Stewart Mac is oh so much more
crafted songs and catchy lyrics will leave you humming his melodies for
days after you've heard them. If you like straightforward, unpretentious
rock then you really should catch Stewart Mac.
with the new songs on offer tonight were old favourites from his 2007
album From Cautious Intent such as California (On My Mind) and Turn This
Set List: California (On My Mind), Misery Loves Company, Everything's
OK, Breathe, Moments Like These, Catch You (When You Fall), Paper Heart,
Little White Lies and Turn This Thing Around
While the evening had started poorly and then taken a disastrous dip,
the final three acts of the night showed what real talent is all
about...well crafted songs delivered by consummate professionals.
time the promoters will go down the "
less is more"
route and only book
acts that can deliver what they promise. It was a shame, too, that the
venue was never more than half full, as Jim Stapley, Silverbox and
Stewart Mac deserve a far bigger audience
photos by Bob Singleton
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page