Archive | March, 2013

Mitch Benn: Reduced Circumstances – Live

18 Mar


Komedia: Saturday, March 9, 2013

Physically, Mitch Benn might be a shadow of his former self, but professionally he’s as bold, forthright and frankly as right on as ever.

Best known for his topical musical interludes on Radio 4’s The Now Show, his Reduced Circumstances routine reflected on how he’d shed 10 stone after acknowledging the “addiction to food” that had blighted his life and had seen him balloon to 25 stone.

There were some typically witty ditties about how his obsession for grub wasn’t down to a traumatic childhood or his parents feeding him a dodgy diet, and a simultaneously heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek number for his young daughters who were the inspiration for his weightloss.

Benn was at his best, though, when musing on the reduced circumstances facing Western economies, comparing the financial crash to watching his daughter fall over when she was learning to walk – both, he said, tumbled after realising there wasn’t anything propping them up.

There was also a clever tirade against racial tolerance – if you have to tolerate it, you are a racist he thundered – but a similarly passionate defence of gay marriage was little more than a Guardian leader column set to music, with little in the way of a comic angle.

That said, it was a rare duff note from the man who is the sharpest – if not the biggest – musical comedian on the circuit.


Caitlin Rose: Live

11 Mar


The Haunt: Monday, February 25 2013

Caitlin Rose did something quite extraordinary; she stunned a packed-out crowd into silence. Total silence.

In a day when many people seem to go to gigs for a natter at the back rather than the music, that’s no mean feat.

But Rose is something special. Still only 25, tonight she showcased a batch of tracks from new album The Stand In that showed she’s edging away from the bourbon-soaked, lovelorn acoustic ballads of debut Own Side Now and cranking it up a notch with the backing of a full band.

Opener No One to Call set the up-tempo standard, with its slide guitar and backing harmonies all drenched by Rose’s spiky Tennessee drawl. Likewise, the searing riff that kick-started Menagerie typified the more adventurous approach – leaving Rose centre stage unable to contain an almighty grin.

It was Sinful Wishing Well, though, that stole that show and silenced the chattering classes. On stage on her own and curled around an acoustic guitar, she delivered a vocal performance that will live long in the memory. At times it was hushed, almost sultry, at others it lashed out and soared.

“Though I don’t know when I’ll hit the bottom, I’ve been falling for so long that I can’t tell,” she confessed on the chorus. 

Her career trajectory, however, is clearly going in the opposite direction.

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