I liked the low-key, old-style ambience and aesthetically pleasing lack of renovation. A good place for a decent beer and to hear some great music.
Not only was it my first gig in so many weeks (I played bass on this particular gig) but I was also offered three gigs during the course of that particular day, two with my duo with Brig and another solo for next Sunday. I suppose that's life's way of telling me that my period of hibernation is over, and to get out there and back into the action!
The first performer was David Griggs. He convenes the songwriter nights at the Raglan on Thursdays and performs sets at the beginning and end of each night. He is a wonderful performer, he has a smooth though strong voice and is a masterful acoustic guitarist. His style is reminiscent to James Taylor with somewhat more intrigue and character to his musicality. He blends his playing and his singing well, he exudes passion and a kind of plaintive sensitivity. At the end of the night David had the Raglan audience yelling out for more!
On next were the Velvet Road in acoustic format featuring djembe player (usually drums) Pete Thompson (he's also a master Chiropractor!), myself on bass + backing voc & Gav Fitzgerald (songwriter) on acoustic guitar + lead vox. The crowd enjoyed this bumptious blend of acoustic blues rock. And I was dressed the part as per usual, having come straight from the library and leaving my scarf on...there was no heating in that pub and my hands were freezing!! We have a good time and this acoustic no-frills format is very easy, minimal luggage and maximum enjoyment! (thanks Dave G for the photos! ;)
Bel Woods next took the stage and performed a mighty set of brilliant acoustic rock. Her songwriting was excellent and she showed herself to be a great acoustic guitarist and singer and exuded great charisma and presence. The songs were often quite percussive and the crowd got behind and into the singing and playing. Bel was terrific!!
Here we go, a curious little ozzie tradition...'Christmas in July', decorations of lit snowflakes dangling from the walls etal etc...all very nice actually but a bit of heating in that pub wouldn't have gone astray!! (or should i have said 'ashtray' ...oops!)
The final showcase prior to David's closing set were a duo Ruby for Lucy featuring Julie Stenton & Kat Borghetti on acoustic guitars and vocals. Here we have a classic example of the sum being greater than the parts. Julie & Kat are both great singers and players but together they are stunning!! The songs & lyrics are memorable and hummable, yet underlyingly sophisticated and evocative. Very English almost, very sweet, and together Julie & Kat as Ruby for Lucy are really very good. Watch out for them!
David finished off with a terrific set in the end and added into the mix some obscure yet tantalising cover songs. We all had a great time and I was very glad to be back amongst it all. Y'know, some of the best musical experiences I've had, and best gigs, have been these sorts of gigs....not too many in the audience, about 20 patrons or so in the pub, but it was a warm occasion (...figuratively) and musically just wonderful. Much can be made from voice + acoustic guitar.
Long live singer/songwriter nights!!
Seeya nextime!! :)