There is a line on the intro to Tom Robinson's "Living In A Boom Time" that refers to smoky cellars at night. Most of those venues have gone, the smoking laws taking care of the first part of the equation and the health and safety people the second, let's be honest a lot of those cellar bars were death traps, no matter how great the atmosphere. Fortunately the basement at the Green Note survived because it has that second route out and atmosphere it does aplenty as a recent visit by Jess Vincent, together with Joe Chowles, proves. There was also a very interesting vegan IPA that came in at a whopping 7%, but that's a whole different story.
It has to be said that this was an intimate gig at a pull your chair a bit closer and actually be on the stage sort of place and it was magnificent. Joe Chowles opened the proceedings with four songs on his own, freely swapping between acoustic and electric to accompany himself. Came across as an artist that was really enjoying being in his own skin and took that attitude into his role as sidesman when Jess joined him.
I've been really lucky at the Green Note, a few months back I was here, in the upstairs bar, listening to Reg Meuross, giving his new songs a run out before the album launch and blow me here I am with Jess Vincent and the same thing's happening.
Jess and Joe delivered two great sets that were a multi-instrumental approach to the songs, that varied between new material as well as songs from the previous cuts. I'm pretty sure the only plan was to ensure the new songs got an outing and after that pretty much anything went, with requests for particular favourites being responded to.
I'm never quite sure how an artist knows when a song is finished, but hearing Jess' material up against old favourites certainly is a great way to ensure that an idea has really solidified, particularly when songs have a really strong narrative as they not only slot in, but also really grab the attention.
Nights like these are rare as rocking horse poop, intimate and innovative, one that takes chances and is rewarded for exposing edges and not only that they have set expectations for an album soon to be delivered. The only disappointing thing is that I'm not going to hear them until the album arrives. Definitely better than feasting on tortoise and if you know the story, you know how good that will be.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
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