The dead see through the eyes of the living

Standing at the Louisiana, Tuesday night, waiting for a graceful Gravenhurst to make their way into a stuffy upper room, I was struck by the thought that I’d not been here for a good three months. I don’t mean “here at the Louie” (my maiden visit, as you’re asking), but “here, tippy-toed with excitement in front of an empty stage, sound-check completed, guitars tuned and a-ready, waiting for some… Live Music once again”.

Gravenhurst

In short, Gravenhurst are the first band I’ve seen since the Summer, since the heady (muddy) days of End of the Road, the last act I saw that weekend being… the chubby songsmith himself.

Since then, I’ve got copies of “The Western Lands”, which I know pretty well now, and this year’s “A Ghost in Daylight”, which I know less well, but which is being touted amongst those who know as a runner for the “best of ‘12” gongs.

He’s a funny looking bloke, Nick Talbot, not yer colour-by-numbers rock star, glasses, plain shirt and jeans, a little on the plump side; but these are, of course, all good, nay exemplary, reasons to like the man.

Apart from this though, it can’t be denied that the man can write a good tune, and is a deceptively good guitar player. Ably backed by Rachel Lancaster on bass, keyboards and vocals and a boisterous Claire Adams on percussion and vocals, Talbot put on a really accomplished evening, running through a good handful of songs from the two albums I knew and some new-to-me ( though I suspect, old) songs that were similarly spell-binding.

Most of the time, the guitar playing and backing was delicate and well-constructed, but there were moments when all players cut loose and let themselves go a little. The extended feedback ending to the main set was particularly cathartic.

I do like his words, as well, languidly delivered, which haunt, occasionally taunt but refuse to be pinned down. One of the songs I didn’t know, Cities Beneath the Sea, was particularly impressive and has been on my mind all week, with its compelling image of the dead powerless to stop us repeating their mistakes. Powerful thoughts…

I’ll leave you with a recording of that song from the night, but I hope to put a few more up in due course..

Cities Beneath the Sea

I believe this was Gravenhurst’s last date of their UK tour, but I’m sure he’ll be along soon and when he is, I recommend (urge) you to see them. Classy stuff…

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