I’m just going to warn you, this post is going to be disgustingly gushing, praising and full of over-the-top love and sentiments for the performers I saw on Thursday night. I’m not sure I’m even going to be able to put my true feelings into coherent sentences but I’ll try my best, so here it goes.
I’m a West London dweller, so I don’t get to make it over to the East as much as I’d like, but it’s a brilliant area of the city – full of bohemian people, open opinions and eclectic settings. Before I and my teensy tiny friend Ms O (really, she was delighted to tell me she’s grown an inch and is now a full 5ft tall!) made our way to Hoxton Square we had a wander around the Old Street area which is full of street and wall art that changes with every visit and positively encourages artists to bring their creativity to the public eye.
|An example of the art work around Old Street|
|The bar at Underbelly|
The gig was held at the wonderfully named Zigfrid von Underbelly on Hoxton Square. It was as odd as its name suggests, with the interior comprising of African-esque wooden statues, a bicycle hanging from the ceiling and framed photos of retro rock stars. Downstairs in the basement where the gig was had the most fascinating ceiling art, which I could have stared at for a large part of the evening had the support act come on stage. Like the headliner, Thomas Truax is just one man, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’ll just be him and a guitar like countless other solo performers. Oh no, Truax is something completely unique, and deliciously bizarre. His stage set up compromises of the Hornicator – a gramaphone speaker connected to a microphone with strings, Hank the Guitar, and Mother Superior – a drum machine made out of a bicycle wheel where the spokes are tweaked to get a particular beat. It really has to be seen to be understood; the homemade inventions really defy any logical explanations. These unconventional instruments managed to provide music that was both jaunty and toe-tapping as well as thought provoking and twisted, as Truax bounced and span around on stage, and at one point wove his way through the intrigued and delighted crowd and even for a brief moment leaving the room altogether! Brilliant fun that kept a smile on my face throughout the entire performance. Thomas Truax has a monthly show at Spice of Life in Soho, and as a friend of mine said, ‘You’d be a fool not to go.’
And so we were all set for the headliner, Jason Webley. I’ve never seen him live before, although through assimilation I seem to know a lot of his songs despite only owning two. He’s one of those guys that has a dedicated legion of fans, and despite mainly playing relatively small shows fill them with a performance that is arena worthy. I’m not even sure where to start with ‘reviewing’ because my mind is so jumbled with the experience. Jason’s music is beautiful – simply put. It’s touching, humorous, romantic, strange and addictive. He drew the audience into the performance, quite literally, as we were all encouraged to provide the backing sounds that are usually provided by an orchestra on CD, to spin around in circles until we all fell into each other, and then to put our arms around each other and sing the Drinking Song (basically a pirate shanty, and I even had a rum based cocktail to complete the illusion!).
He goes from serene and almost on the verge of tears, to frantic and electric, the audience staying with him the whole time. Whether it was one of his own songs or an accordion cover version of an 80s classic (he took requests from the audience which included Girls Girls Girls by Motley Crue and, when the decade was flexible, God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols), Webley performed with every inch of his being, and confirmed himself to me as a genuine human being, who adores his fans as much as they adore him. I can’t thank him enough, because wholeheartedly, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. And we got a big sweaty hug from him at the end which just topped it off!
Jason Webley will be touring around Europe and the US until his LAST SHOW for at least a year in Seattle on 11 November. Dates are here. Please go and support this guy, you won’t regret it – pinky promise!
Oyster card: £10
(If you want to use these photos elsewhere, please ask first! All belong to me!)