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Miscellaneous - London, 26/3/2011

  by Admin

published: 20 / 3 / 2011

Miscellaneous - London, 26/3/2011


Jamie Rowland writes of our recent Pennyblackmusic Bands' Night at the Half Moon in Herne Hill, London on the 26th March with Anthony Reynolds, Nick Garrie, the Hall of Mirrors and Alex Monk

On Saturday 26th March, Pennyblackmusic descended on Herne Hill’s Half Moon for the third of our Bands’ Nights at the venue. Nerves were high – after the explosive and self-destructive Television Personalities’ performance at our first stint at the Half Moon in March last year, November’s Willard Grant Conspiracy show was widely viewed as the best we had ever put on, and as such had set the bar high. Commercially speaking, our latest line-up might also have been seen as something of a risk; our headliner, Anthony Reynolds hadn’t played a gig in London since his band Jack broke up eight years ago, Nick Garrie had only ever played London once before and our opening act started his act by gently ringing some Tibetan bells – not a sound which has historically brought in the masses. I think, however, everyone involved would argue that the night was a great success, both in terms of the quality and diversity of the music on offer and the very positive turnout. The show opened with Alex Monk, ex-member of space-rock band Fractured Waves. He has been described as a “fringe psychedelicist operating in the realms of concrete ambience”. This is not a description I would use. I would describe him as a man who bangs a small gong while howling gently into a microphone. A lot. For a long time. Yes, Alex Monk’s music was not really to my tastes, but I certainly can’t deny that he was a very different act, and one that grabbed the crowd’s attention. Some people even applauded his efforts. I would argue that he perhaps doesn’t need the encouragement, but clearly not everyone is of the same opinion, and I would not begrudge him his place on the line-up just because I’m not a fan – Pennyblackmusic is nothing if not eclectic in its coverage, and the Bands’ Nights reflect that – and quite rightly, too. Plus I used the opportunity to go and do a wee. As if to prove my point about Pennyblackmusic’s eclectic tastes (unknowingly, and in the past) Hall of Mirrors were far removed from Monk’s experimental soundscapes; they played a set of beautifully crafted 60s/70's-style orchestral-pop, framed within a modern psychedelic-indie frame in the mould of Broadcast. Vocalist Jessica Spencer had the audience gripped throughout their set, and our pre-gig jitters collectively began to lift as a thoroughly positive atmosphere filtered down from the stage and through the room. People were having fun, and so were we. Nick Garrie was by far my highlight of the night – his simple, solo set of acoustic folk was absolutely mesmerizing, and it was hard to believe this was only his second ever London gig in a career spanning over 40 years. He played a set of songs both old and new, with a good selection from his classic (and until recent years, extremely rare) 1969 debut album, 'The Nightmare of JB Stanislas'. If you’ve not heard of Nick Garrie before, I implore you to seek him out – and here’s hoping he comes back to London some time soon! So, with the crowd abuzz and spirits high, it was finally time for Anthony Reynolds to take to the stage. Accompanied by a small band (violin, bass, guitar and keyboards) Reynolds captivated the whole room with a haunting set of eight extended songs; some new, some old, and some favourites from the Jack back-catalogue. One minor criticism might be that the set was a bit too loose; sometimes the songs seemed to drift apart a bit and lose their focus – the inclusion of a drummer might have helped keep things a bit more together. This, however, is a small point and the set was by no means significantly worse for wear because of it, and the show undoubtedly marked a welcome return to the stage for Reynolds. Certainly, the Half Moon audience seemed extremely appreciative, and by the end of the set the atmosphere in the room was very positive indeed; any concerns we may have had at the beginning of the night were now long forgotten, as feedback from audiences and the bands came back to us – everyone had a great night, and even if they didn’t like every band (in this case “they” = me) the eclectic mix of styles and the good nature of the crowd won through. Thanks to all who came along, and of course to the bands involved. See you at the next one, later in the year!

Also In Pennyblackmusic Bands Night

Also at Half Moon, Hern Hill

Picture Gallery:-
Miscellaneous - London, 26/3/2011

Miscellaneous - London, 26/3/2011

Miscellaneous - London, 26/3/2011

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