Archive | January, 2013

Abi Wade – Live

25 Jan


Prince Albert: Wednesday, January 23 2013

While most acts will strive for one unique selling point, Abi Wade has got a bundle of them. Not only is her main instrument of choice the cello, but it’s complimented by a pair of peddles for percussion and the novel beat-producing device that is ‘whacking-the-cello-with-a-stick’.

And she does it all. At the same time. Without a loop pedal in sight.

That alone is an impressive enough musical feat, but throw into the mix a collection of leftfield, idiosyncratic songs which somehow create a sum greater than their constituent parts, and we’re on to a winner.

Take Heavy Heart for example – the sparse beats and restrained cello not only nailed the xx’s knack of giving a song plenty of room to breathe – but also allowed Wade’s distinctive and impressively direct vocals to dominate. Somehow, improvisational charm was transformed into a cleverly crafted arrangement.

Similarly, A Bit Like Love continued the less-is-more theme while also proving she can master the traditional approach as she ditched the cello and gizmos for a beguiling a ballad on the piano – again characterised by a voice that can be both stark and subtle.

Wade is a must-see live act but, because she sits down to perform,that is easier said than done. If you’re more than three rows back in a venue like this, you’ll barely glimpse a thing. Someone needs to build her a plinth – performances like this clearly prove she deserves one.


Stand Up For The Hall – Comedy Review

25 Jan


Komedia: Saturday, January 12 2013

Kudos to co-headliners Alastair Barrie and Nick Page – both seasoned professionals on the national stand-up circuit – for giving up their time for free to help Prestonville residents raise £200,000 to buy Exeter Street hall for community use.

Barrie smartly honed in on Brighton for much of his set – but thankfully avoided the well-trodden clichés of it being the “gay capital” or “stag-do central” so popular with many visiting comedians.

Instead, his observation that the city only had such a large number of white people with dreadlocks to overcome the guilt “for not having many black people living here” cleverly pricked the conscience.

Page, for his part, revelled in the fact that he had royally messed up his life, telling us he went to the top three schools in the country and hosted day-time drivel Escape to the Country, before a compulsion for infidelity and dodgy dealings left him with three divorces and a £250,000 fraud conviction.

He suggested it might be time to change his ways, though, after realising he’d been a best man nine times, yet never a godfather. “That’s the making of a dick,” he admitted, which might be true, but at least he’s a very funny one.

Despite two stonking sets, it will be Norway-born and Brighton-based Ingrid Dahle’s act that lives longest in the memory – mainly for a physical routine where she  turned a pair of Primark jogging bottoms into a wardrobe full of outfits.

A combination of quirkiness and deft timing means she should be destined for stardom.

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