This was a ‘Shambles Night’ with Eddy on the desk, four acousticky acts and two bands.
First up was a duo, John Lowndes and Daniel Clarke. Some promise here but one song was a waste of sound as they both played identical chords throughout. The others were better in that respect. Vocals could improve a little and an investment in new strings on the non-ovation type guitar would be good.
Second was Rondas. Slightly better on quality in both voice and tuning. Rhythmically very good. A bossa impressed me.
Third was the very popular Zacc Rogers. He started with a driving harp and guitar number that stopped the bar in its tracks. Awesome. We were then treated to some fast flatpicking in open D which clearly impressed the crowd. Zacc’s versatility showed in his switching to an open G tuned second guitar for some outstanding slide work. Not only can he do all this but he’s also into jazz. It’s good to see competent playing when there’s so much naff strumming and powerchording around. For the inevitable encore Zacc did a lovely gospel number, possibly called ‘Show me the light’.
Act 4, Andrew Deighton was apparently supposed to have a band with him but they didn’t show. Maybe unfair to judge him just on the solo performance, but if you get up there you must expect some comment and here the guitar was desperately out and the songs ended sort of nowhere.
The first of the two bands, Mirrorball, then played an excellent set. Talking to the other musicians present, it was clear that this is a highly respected outfit whose indie psychedelic big guitar sound has its own very distinctive route. I liked all of their stuff and in particular ‘I Am The Song’ and ‘Heavy Lemon’. You can hear these and other tracks on their myspace site (mirrorballfc). As with Zacc Rogers, there is no substitute for professionalism and musical ability which they had in abundance, turning dissonances around and throwing aural surprises at a delighted audience.
I didn’t see enough of the last band, Carbon Kinetic to do them justice. The opening number pointed up the odd sound problem, as is often the case – the bass was inaudible and the other guitars needed someone on the desk. However, in better ‘weather’ I think they would impress.
A great night with Zacc and Mirrorball totally mint.