Sean Taylor

Venue: Half Moon
Town: Putney
Dates: 2/9/15

As many regular readers of Fatea will know that I'm a big Sean Taylor fan, I've been fortunate enough to have been there in the early days and seen him rise as musician and songwriter. I've seen him pretty much play to two men and a dog, and I'm not convinced the dog was listening, and I've seen him hold festival audiences captivated.

Similarly I've seen him perform many of his shows solo over the year as well as one or two where he's been accompanied by other musicians including Danny Thompson and James Taylor, though the latter probably isn't the one you're thinking of. The one in question is a percussionist and it's something that works well with Sean's sound, where a drum kit would fail. It would also be the first time I had seen Sean perform with what could reasonably be considered a band. During the course of his two sets, he would perform solo, as a duo, with fiddle player, Hannah Piranah and as a trio with the addition of percussionist Paulina Szczepan.

This night at The Half Moon at Putney rapidly turned into one of those magic nights that really rewards the effort for getting out and supporting live music. It helps when a venue seems to be genuinely welcoming and full of friendly faces and has a room that seems set for the performers needs. If only I had been so good in my planning, having, due to a series of events, I didn't have my camera with me, so please excuse the images falling below our usual standard.

Definitely not falling below the usual standard was Sean Taylor, guitarist, songwriter and performer, fine form being a more appropriate phrase, although one that undersells him. He seemed in great humour with banter providing a great counterpoint to the intensity of some of his songs and which also allowed him to take more risks with the set, not knowing where he was going to go next.

Working with other musicians brings a different series of challenges with it, but it seems that it's something that Sean has warmed to and it really brought a different dynamic to the sound. Sean has always performed his songs differently live, mainly from the necessity of being a solo performer in the main, but here with other musicians he gives them a different dynamic again. It was so easy to be drawn in, even to the point where I was genuinely shocked when he announced the mid-session break, time to recharge a glass.

Similarly I was shocked when we reached the end of the second set, even with the obligatory encore. It was one of those nights when the audience reacted to the artist and the artist returned that reaction. Sean always gives much of himself in songs and performance, wearing heart and politics on his sleeve. It always leads to great gigs, but be it the combination of sounds laid out for us, this was one of those special ones where I'm glad I can say, "I was there".

Sean Taylor is a prolific gigger, including more and more dates in Europe, if he's playing near you, make the effort. He makes great records, but justice is the live arena.

Neil King

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