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Celsi, Bragg and Maitland - Green Man Gallery, Buxton, 16/08/17

  by Keith How

published: 31 / 10 / 2017

Celsi, Bragg and Maitland - Green Man Gallery, Buxton, 16/08/17


Keith How catches Celsi,Bragg and Maitland as their 'Second Summer of Love' tour reaches his neck of the woods and finds them in fine form.

Buxton’s unique Green Man Gallery was the host for this leg of Celsi, Bragg and Maitland’s epic 'Second Summer of Love' tour of the U.K. The tour advertising should read “Three for the price of one” for such is the calibre of the three members of this trio. For the uninitiated Anny Celsi has the reputation of being one of L.A’s most talented songwriters, Nelson Bragg is one of the percussionists in Brian Wilson’s band and twelve-string guitarist Duncan Maitland of Picturehouse and Pugwash fame makes up the final part of this superb trio. The evening began with a set from Nottingham outfit Fun at the Pier. The trio had a gentle stage presence which matched a collection of folky tunes with an occasional psychedelic tinge around the edges, and they were the perfect openers for the main event. In chatting with Anny earlier it was obvious that, despite the odd setback of a car breakdown, they were enjoying the tour and intent on having a good time. So it was. From the moment they took to the stage the spirit of the band was obvious. There was lots of on stage banter and humour between the three members which rubbed off on the audience. They were going to enjoy themselves and so were we. Kicking off with Celsi’s signature song 'Little Black Dress' (She was wearing one) the band were soon in their stride and it was obvious that these guys were no slouches. For two guitars and the most minimal drum set-up I have ever seen the sound was full and generous, their vocals crystal clear and in balance with the percussion and guitars. The trio were impressive. Musically together with the tightest harmonies you could possibly hear, they sounded just great. 'Kaleidoscope Heart' swung nicely before Maitland joined Celsi and Bragg for a beautiful acappela version of 'Hollywood Waltz. ”We are The Carter Family,” Bragg quipped before returning to his percussive set up (a snare drum, a cymbal and various shakers and tambourines. He made this stripped back set up sound immense. It was a joy to experience such skills. It was around this point that a grown man was reduced to tears. Celsi introduced Duncan Maitland to the microphone to pay tribute to a legend. Maitland delivered a stunning version of Glen Campbell’s 'Wichita Lineman'. His delivery was stunning and emotional, taking back to my early teens listening to this epic song on Radio Luxembourg at the dead of night via a tiny transistor radio and earphone. Not to be outdone Nelson Bragg picked up a guitar and treated us to 'Forever Days' from his recently released solo album, 'We Get What We Want'. “On vinyl,” he proclaimed opening an on stage vinyl vs CD debate with Maitland. The band launched into 'The Second Summer of Love', a great song with lovely harmonies and great sentiment. Driven by Bragg’s inventive percussion and Maitland’s ringing twelve strings and the catchy chorus, we all got to clap a little. The on-stage laughter and banter continued. “Another song about broken relationships,” jibed Bragg, obviously the joker in the pack, before Celsi sung the poignant and telling 'Twas Her Hunger Brought Me Down'. Maitland returned to deliver his psychedelic masterpiece 'Terry the Toad' from his underrated 'Lullabies for the 21st Century' album. His stage presence was one of laid back mastery . A fine evening was drawing to a close and the trio left us with a beautiful acappela song about an old friend in Glasgow now sadly deceased. 'The Bright Lights of Glasgow' was simply gorgeous. A soul-enhancing evening from three truly outstanding musicians and lovely people.

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