Triple header

Triple header

119 days ago

Good things come in threes, and this week I had three musical outings. First off was my regular Monday trip to Conrad Barr’s Solid Air night at Chaplin’s in Boscombe. Two of the three acts were people I’ve seen before and enjoyed – Louis Massey, going from strength to strength and getting better each time I’ve seen him, and the wonderful Kimari Raven, whose crystal-clear voice, hooky rhythms and engaging personality have made her one of my Chaplin’s favourites. The third, Tim Holehouse, came across as a glorious hybrid of Tom Waits, Seasick Steve and Lemmy, on acoustic guitar and occasional banjo. There's a whole musical world out there if you know where to look.

Thursday night saw a trek across to Portsmouth where Grace Petrie (pictured) was playing the Wedgewood Rooms. This was my first time seeing her play live, having only discovered her in the last couple of years. Leading a five-piece band, she was formidable: eloquent, passionate, witty, possessed of a magnetic stage presence and with a repertoire of songs more than good enough to back all that up. We managed to secure a spot right at the very front, up against the crash barrier, and it was a fantastic night. Before blowing us away with her own set, Grace came onstage to introduce each of the two support acts and urge the audience to respectfully listen rather than talk over them: a nice display of solidarity with her fellow artists. Gabi Garbutt is a fellow singer-songwriter, with pleasingly wordy songs. I’ve since checked out her album Cockerel, and it’s superb. Molly Naylor is a performance poet who delighted the audience and held our attention throughout – you can find her on YouTube, and very good she is too.

The final leg of my music marathon came on Saturday, when friend of this blog Olly Hopper-Pay and his Clams bandmates were rocking the Rising Sun in Wimborne. Dirty rock music played extra loud, Zeppelin/Aerosmith vibes aplenty, and even a cover of the Who’s 'Won’t Get Fooled Again', which Dave Masters would have approved of (as did I!)

Music feeds me, and it was great to experience so much live music in such a short time. If you value music, please support local venues and artists at all levels. Grace Petrie shared the fact that her new album had 10,000 Spotify downloads when it first came out, which she was thrilled about. Then she did the maths and worked out that those 10,000 downloads had earned her something in the region of £33. I use Spotify a lot, but if we want smaller, independent artists to remain viable, we have to also keep buying albums, buying concert tickets and buying merch. This week I bought three albums that I had previously listened to a lot on Spotify (two by Grace Petrie and one by the Clams) and I really wish I’d taken a chance on the Gabi Garbutt one (I intend to put that decision right very soon). As Grace put it, she’s not necessarily asking you to buy her album, but buy someone’s album, so that artists can afford to keep working in the arts. The same goes for buying books too: whether it’s my book or someone else’s, please keep buying them. I can recommend mine though; I know the author and he seems all right.

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