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[Gig Review] Ian Sherwood @ Little Bedworth Hall - March 6, 2015


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Ian Sherwood, Little Budworth Hall, 6th March 2015, 7.30PM - 11PM


Ticket Price £10.50 (entrance and a interval 'snack')

Soft Drinks 50p, wine £9 per bottle (not available by the glass), they had good beer (real ale such as Speckled Hen; Black Sheep - but I didn't catch the price).


Venue: the venue was at Little Budworth, a small village hall with beamed ceilings that sits around 80 people around tables (the tables become important later) around a small stage. I doubt that the builders thought about acoustic vibrations when they built the hall, so other than it being a largish space (largish for family gatherings as we're at least an order of magnitude smaller than concert sized rooms) there isn't much in the design to recommend the venue. There's a small kitchen, and they had a bar open, soft drinks were 50p each (very cheap! would be double in a pub, and quadruple in a club in the UK), a bottle of wine was £9, about 2/3s the price of an equivalent in a pub, and a similar bottle of wine from a supermarket would probably be 2/3s the price; so overall the drinks were extremely good value. Because it's located in the middle of the village, the gig had to have finished by 11pm. One thing I hadn't really expected was the sense of everyone just being friends. I went with my Mum, Cousin and Aunt and we were the outsiders, what with my Mum living a village away, and (other than the artist) I probably travelled the furthest (a whole 60 miles), nonetheless I recognised a couple of people through dogwalking, and many more seem to be aware and either interested, bewildered or both by my ongoing job.


New to me at any sort of gig was the half time interval 'snack' or 'light tea', although it was very welcome! They handed out platters of bread, butter, pate, cheese and tomatoes, all very nice, and there were bowls of crisps (chips for the americans among us) and nuts throughout teh performance.


Parking is easy enough (and free) on the street or in the car park, the majority of people walk in so there's always plenty of space. Slight downside is that the Hall isn't really distinguished from the near by houses, so locating it at night can be tricky.


All in all it was a strange setting, I suspect nicer for the locals than outsiders (and several proceeded to get sloshed) particularly since they can walk in and out (when I say nicer for locals I don't mean they're welcoming people with pitch forks, more that they all know each other and that can make you feel like an outsider - when my parents moved to their village they arrived in time for quiz night, proceeded to win it and were introduced to people for the next 6 months as 'this is Hilary and Paul, you know that won the quiz night that one time', ironically my Dad went to the village quiz instead (and came second - standards are slipping, but I digress) . The venue is quite pretty, but not really suited for proper concert work, but then this was never going to be a 'traditional' concert.


On to the Artist.


There weren't any warm up artists, for obvious reasons, so it was straight into the show (after an introduction by the organiser and a chance to buy raffle tickets, yes raffle tickets at a concert)


Now I hadn't actually heard of the guy before, but I saw posters advertised in the woods that he was a Canadian Folk Singer, I like Canadians, I like folk music, I like live music, it was pretty cheap and I was home that weekend anyway, although admittedly getting to my parents before the show started was somewhat of a challenge. So I looked him up on Youtube and convinced my Mum to come, basically by showing her the YouTube Videos, who then invited my cousin and Aunt as well. I'm not convinced live music is their 'thing' but it was local and 'safe' and different so they came anyway. Some of my other cousins took the piss somewhat and text a few times during the gig to continue the theme, folk music, heh...


My music tastes run to the John Butler Trio, Flogging Molly, REM, Death Cab for Cutie, Elbow, Mumford & Sons, the Shins so essentially anything either folkish (preferably with a twist) or acoustic-y or with clever or poetic lyrics, I'm going to like, TLDR: I am predisposed to like him.


He performed solo, mostly on a guitar, but occasionally used a saxophone; used an app on his phone to create a beat for one or two songs, and had one of those foot operated recorder mixer thingies, where he could record a few bars, play it back; sing or play over it, record that, etc etc etc and basically build up the song, so although it was still just him on the stage there was real depth and harmonies to the music? He can harmonise with himself really well, lol.


I can't remember all his songs (difficult as it was the first time I'd heard any of them). There were some real surprises, and I can't say that I loved all his songs, on some the lyrics didn't mean anything to me, although generally I always liked the arrangements. If I had to criticise anything in the performance, it would be that at the begininning the guitar chords were sometimes a bit too loud for his singing, but that's being ultra critical, overall it was very enjoyable and he is clearly very talented with an excellent ear for rhythm and harmony.


At one stage he proceeded to teach everyone the chorus to a song with the aid of actions (surprisingly effective way of remembering the lyrics) with the memorable line of 'butcher the horses' which I'll admit made me instantly think of the Cavalry and what they'd say. At this stage of the night, I was pleasantly surprised that tables weren't kicked over and that nobody fell off their chairs during the 'kick down the fence posts' bit.


The audience probably wasn't suited for the artist. I'd say that at least half were there to support the village as opposed to the music itself, and showed zhen a couple repeatedly made requests for music by some other artists which was a little awkward to say the least.


He was selling his albums at the end of the evening 2 for £15, so I bought them both and have since listened to them. Ironically the song I remember the best was the 'butcher the horses one', although it's not a favourite. It was interesting to see the change from live to recorded. He recorded it with more people, so a few times in the concert where he'd use his machine thing to build up the layers of the sound were just played as normal in the album. The albums are certainly more polished, but I really enjoyed the building up of layers from when he played live.


If you already like folk music, you'll like this guy, but I don't think he'll convert anybody to the genre as he's a little too traditional. For me (4/5)


This is my favourite of his I can find on YouTube

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