Archive | September, 2012

Rachel Sermanni – Live

24 Sep

Latest Music Bar: Sunday, September 23 2012

They must raise their kids on nothing but the smoothest single malt whisky and lashings of honey in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s the only possible explanation for how the slightly built 20-year-old Rachel Sermanni can have such a voice; it flits from a velvety boom deep enough to stir the soul to a fragile whisper that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

If you couldn’t see her, you’d swear blind you were listening to someone at least twice her age, whose rich, emotive tones and sentiments came from being around the block a few times. And probably in the wrong direction.

But her subtly shifting, solo acoustic numbers were so accomplished and natural – probably because many of them were littered with vivid references to the stunning landscapes of her home – that there were no doubts about their authenticity.

In between songs she regailed us with a steady stream of effortless, charming chatter. It wasn’t the usual ‘how are you?’, ‘It’s lovely to be here’ age-old, time-filling waffle, but intricate, self-deprecating tales of how songs came about (from working in a burger van to disturbing dreams), as well as where they were recorded (one, in a hut in the mountains with friends…and plenty of booze).

Sermanni is a rare, natural talent – the 20 year-old Glenfiddich among the massed ranks of supermarket scotch, if you will.


Euros Childs – Live

21 Sep

Sticky Mike’s: Monday, September 3, 2012

It’s a miracle that  Euros Childs finds time to play live. Last month’s Summer Special was his eighth solo studio album in six years, and he’s also released collaborations with Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake (Jonny) and Race Horses’ Meilyr Jones (Cousins).

Returning to Brighton for the first time since December’s majestic solo piano show in the serene surroundings of the Unitarian Church, this time the former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci main man was backed by a full band, but don’t think for a minute this was any less gorgeous.

The swirling Desolation Blues would prove he could crank it up when he wanted to, but tonight largely reinforced the view that he’s cornered the market in lush.

The first three tracks – off the new album – were layered with sun-soaked three-part harmonies, delivered just in time for the last vestiges of summer, before his renown story-telling style came to the fore on the ghoulish Cavendish Hall.

From then on the set was littered with leftfield pop nuggets, all doused in his idiosyncratic lyrical charm. We had the weird and wonderful; songs about a bearded female blacksmith and a man who watches couples having sex on the beach, alongside tender ballads, such as the wistful Parent’s Place.

Whatever the subject matter, though, each was blessed with a corking tune. He might be prolific, but there’s never been a drop in standards. Childs is a (Welsh) national treasure.

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