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Tinderbox + Gareth Lee & Annie Baylis

Venue: The Shelley Threate
Town: Poole
Date: 25/03/17

It's the first time I've been at a gig at the Shelley Theatre, part of the historic Boscombe Manor and linked to the Shelley family of poetry and Frankenstein fame, Mary's heart is buried locally. Whilst having seen better days, the theatre, in the process of being restored, still has an impressive sense of history and the people that have walked its boards. One has to wonder at the words that have passed across this stage or more recently been sung. It's a great place to provide a backdrop for an album launch and Tinderbox were here to take full advantage.

"All Grown Up" is the latest album from Dorset trio Tinderbox, Monique, Dan & Bob, joined on the night by many of the additional musicians that helped shape the release, including Gareth Lee and Annie Baylis who opened the evening, of whom more later.

On the album, Monique is a very expressive singer, live she also channels that expression through her movement, particularly arms and hands, that really and almost literally pulls you into the songs, regardless of the style of the song. "All Grown Up", draws on wide chunks of the acoustic spectrum, with Monique's Irish lilt, being a glue that binds the whole together.

The album's theme of family, growing up, growing apart, coming together feel a lot more obvious live, watching the interaction on stage adds a visual element to the already strong narrative, watching the social dynamic between musicians is one of the finest aspects of people watching. It also makes you realise they strength of the songs.

The set predominantly featured Tinderbox as a trio, which is how most people are going to hear the songs in the live environment and that emphasised the way Tinderbox worked as a unit, with nods towards the embellishments brought to the album by the guest musicians.

If Tinderbox showed any nervousness about launching an album from such a stage, they definitely didn't show it. This was a night that was at times magical, certainly rich in performance and one that you could almost feel the likes of Wilde and Irving giving a nod too. A great night that more than did Tinderbox proud.

The evening started with a short set from Cornish duo Gareth Lee and Annie Baylis, who made the trip up from the South West on the hottest day of the year, so far, in a car lacking aircon. I'd previously heard the duo through their "Future Writer" EP so it was good to hear them in the live environment, they didn't disappoint. They are definitely a duo with the capability to build on well written songs and well worth checking out.

Neil King:Words and Pics

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