As a late adopter, I've only been listening to the music of The Little Unsaid for about a year, and it gets to the point where you think "will these guys ever make a mediocre record?" Emphatically the answer is "No". I knew I was going to see a quality gig at The Live Room in Saltaire last night, but I didn't expect to leave there comparing it to some of the best gigs I have ever seen, made all the more remarkable by this being the opening gig of the current tour. To put that into some kind of context, I have seen thousands of gigs, of all genres, in every size of venue imaginable. The Little Unsaid are something very, very special.
John Elliott who writes and arranges the music hails from West Yorkshire, so this was a kind of homecoming. The band played at the Live Room a number of years ago, and here they were again on the venue's 7th birthday giving something back in front of maybe 130 people. As we drove up from Manchester I remarked that this might well be the last time we would see The Little Unsaid in a venue of this size. As we drove back I felt the only reason I might not see them in a small venue again would be the impossibility of getting tickets before it sold out. I think the band will want to go back.
There was a warmth about their set that you would not necessarily expect from songs that can be so lyrically heartbreaking. In smaller venues there is always a more natural, human rapport between artist and audience, and the scene was set as the pre-gig birthday announcements were being made. As the announcement came that the Green Room was going to be enlarged a thumbs up popped out from its partially closed door. This band are truly connected to a growing throng of supporters, but there is no complacency and you can be sure they will always give of their best.
The Little Unsaid are releasing their new album "Atomise" on 24th May, and it features large in their live set. Tantalisingly they played a stunning new song, Spiderman, which was not on the pre-release bundle. The anticipation for this new work matches what I felt when Pink Floyd were ready to release Wish You Were Here. I am currently waiting for "Atomise" to drop through my letter box so I can review it for Fatea, so you lot can now share the anticipation!
The musicianship and ingenuity of all four band members shone last night. Elliott himself has a stunning vocal range that can switch falsetto instantly into something much more powerful, the mood of which seems to emphasis the trauma behind some of the lyrics. He is effortless on keyboards and guitars, and is a terrific performer. Alison D'Souza's viola playing is original, effective and delivers the kind of quality that I last saw when Pete Sage played with Harrogate band Wally in the 1970s. Tim Heymerdinger is a drummer and percussionist who you feel could turn his hand to anything, and while I somehow failed to catch the name of bass player and support guitar player (please forgive - it's an age thing) his command and understanding of the mood of the band's music was perfection in itself. This is a band who are totally in synch with one another.
For me, the highlight of the evening was my favourite song of theirs Day Is Golden. It was probably always going to be a contender, but it's placement as the penultimate song in the set (before an inevitable and much deserved encore) simply took my breath away. The Little Unsaid wear their heart on their sleeve, and they share it with those who see them perform live, proving that you always get something special from watching live music.
So yes, I've seen thousands of gigs, but undoubtedly I have just seen one of the best gigs I will ever see. So buy their album and you will experience music at a different level, but honestly, never miss an opportunity to see them live because that is even better. Their performance last night was stunning.
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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