Friday, August 26, 2011

Acoustic Moon - 25 August 2011

Yesterday evening was the inaugural edition of a new acoustic event - Acoustic Moon - and I was delighted to be there. The venue is The Full Moon pub in the village of Rudge, just a few miles from Frome and within the same orbit lie Warminster, Westbury and Trowbridge. The nearest planet providing all means of life-support is generally perceived to be Bath.
The next question is where to start. I don't want to make enemies and since the long dead can't Twitter, or I least I hope not, I shall follow the advice of the court: start at the beginning, continue to the end and then stop.
I've never envied the position of an opening act or artist; head-liners may disappoint, spectacularly and in front of a tens-of-thousands of fans at a festival, but the few can be worse than the masses. If you have ever seen a pub band suffer that fâte, and you probably have, then you know exactly what I mean.  My photography was rubbish. You must make an exception for that. My report said that, if I tried harder, I might do better next time.
Please don't let that make you think any less of the artists, or their music, for they were all amazing. The unenviable task of launching Acoustic Moon, just weeks after the final Space Shuttle flight and in the week that saw the abject failure of a multi-million-costing unmanned Russian space mission that launched nothing at all, fell to Saravian.
Mission accomplished. Acoustic Moon is now in earth orbit.
There are some things that I have an uncanny knack of doing and one of them is managing to miss Mark Abis when he is is playing live in, or around, Frome. He does so often and yesterday I finally failed to do this too.
Mark Abis - Acoustic Moon 25 August 2011.
I don't know if he'd agree with me about this but, in the week that the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary finally included Americana as a noun describing a specific genre of music, he is an extremely good UK purveyor of it.  He might not like this either - one of the songs he played reminded me so much of Jack Johnson that, had I heard it played unannounced on the radio, I would have simply assumed by default that it was.
The next to feature were special guests Linda and Mark and, while following the lead, this was in no way Americana; rather five songs from the combined songbook of the great US female vocalists of the mid-twentieth century and should you think that the set-up violates the 'acoustic' moniker then I can reassure you that the Nord keyboard was firmly in piano mode. 
It was certainly dangerous vocal territory carefully navigated.
Next to perform was Brighton-based, but Dorset bred, Emily Baker.
There is something that immediately defines but does not confine her and many others, and to an extent her self-written songs too, which has nothing to describe it adequately that appears in the dictionary (Concise Oxford English, of course): There has been much soul-searching for a 'label' for some time and, while I only first heard it a month or so ago, Anglicana will have to do for now and it is certainly a whole lot better than most of the others that have been attached to such things. This music is not entirely traditional, nor is it obviously Celtic inspired, and she is very good at it indeed.
Emily Baker - Acoustic Moon - 25 August 2011.
Just don't ask about the Sturminster mutants... it was all part of the patter, and audience banter, between songs and that genuine and unforced connection is something that very many artists lack.  If you haven't heard the 2011 album 'House Of Cards' then you need to. If you have then you need this, her 2009 début EP, too...
This and the album are available, in real physical format (CD), direct from her website.
The evening was completed by duo Jacquelyn Hynes and J Eoin. This was certainly celtic music at its most inventive and yet also often very traditional. The tunes from the ongoing 'Lost in...' project were particularly interesting.
This one was taken when they returned for an encore.
There was not a great deal of light to take pictures but, and this is my personal opinion, using a flash would have ruined the atmosphere.  On the other hand can you believe that this much amazing live music is available to you for just £5?
The next Acoustic Moon is at the same venue on Thursday, 29 September and at the same price and I believe that now includes tickets purchased on the door too.
You can now just decide to go on a whim and not pay a premium.  I have actually seen most of the acts appearing at the next event - I'm certain to be going and I don't think that you will be disappointed.
See you there.

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