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Tobias Ben Jacob & Lukas Drinkwater (Jacob & Drinkwater)

Venue: Guildhall
Town: Leicester
Date: 19/01/18

Chill on the night as we venture out for the first time in a couple of years to city centre of neighbouring county Leicestershire, not the first ones either as welcome later surprise reunion, to see and hear Jacob & Drinkwater within the medieval Guildhall. By day the timbered building is home to fine museum but tonight part of the roster of 3 venues used by Greenbird Promotions to bring live music to Leicester. The Y Theatre & The Musician sharing the lineup of a vibrant music scene, folk normally on the bill although The Musician features a range of music genres, presented either in-house or by a number of other promoters.

Cold air extends into the halls of the Guildhall itself, although its rich history which includes period as 19th century home for town hall must at some point stage to infinite number of actors, oraters, playwrights and as tonight musicians. Our far travelled duo, last night's gig was Cornwall with morning halt for Lukas in Exeter recording session with Sadie Horler, soon to put the weather to back of everyones thoughts.

Due two surprises and neither include admission by Lukas & Tobias that this is one of their rare journeys so far north, but meeting 4 friends who had seen them on Monday 15th (Birmingham's Kitchen Garden Cafe). 3 of these folks often seen in various incarnations (most recently as The Hatstand Band) playing (not all genres at the same gig) blues, folk, americana, bluegrass or murder ballads. Surprises completed with tap on the shoulder by another friend (in her guise as Leicestershire promoter responsible for my introduction to Ange Hardy). Something of a reunion, the last time this party were together almost 6 months ago in The Big Comfy Bookshop (Coventry) for guess - A gig by Tobias & Lukas.

Almost sold out show gives little room for imaginary dance floor, the pairings comic timing and musicianship impeccable. However thankfully no disco or Bacarra, instead (jokes aside - no that's harsh they were amusing too) a myriad of delights with audience treated to songs from back catalog and current release "A Polyphonic Life". Onto which earlier EP release title song 'Burning Low' makes. Performed acoustically on guitar by Tobias and double bass (at times swapped for guitar) of Lukas the song bristles with fresh energy on each live performance, although the new album guise with musicians John Elliot, Phillip Henry, Tim Heymerdinger, Alastair Caplan and Andy Watts complementing the recording - stunning.

So many songs, of which Tobias hints as being part biographical, merit further highlighting but I'll sample just a few to enchant, first choice 'A Polyphonic Life' (album version includes singer Jess McAllister on backing vocals), 'Parrallel' (with a wish that someday our paths cross) and either take of the divine 'If Any Dream Survives' (live or recorded, the latter featuring gorgeous backing by Emily Barker). The original hook for myself was @The Devil & Tobias Ben Jacob' - it's searing heat placing the duel in some remote desert. Personally I would also love hearing the stacatto riff of album cut 'Girl From The 109' performed live.

Further jest was the absence of a set list, so I'll give revelation of one songwriter of the 3 tribute paid too. Duo acoustic take on Bob Dylan's 'Blind Willie McTell' outstanding. Sadly at end of winter tour both will part ways, their separate lives encountering work either as solo artists, session musicians or players in larger companies. Thankfully reconvening later in the year, I reason you are already convinced enough to make ticket reservation for summer tour (when announced) as will be those folks overheard who made sincere comment at nights close "delightful, had not heard of them"

Tony Wilding

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