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Friday, July 18, 2008

30 Days of Happiness - Day 15

Happiness is...

Going to my first live gig in 14 years and...

being seduced by the beautiful voice and warm nature of the gorgeous Clare Bowditch.

Love, love, love this woman!

I have to say that it was with some nervousness that I approached my first gig in a very, long time. I didn't have to travel far for it thankfully as Ruby's is just down the street from our house! The night didn't get off to a very good start with Ruby's being extremely disorganised. Our tickets said the gig began at 8pm. Ruby's however didn't open their doors until well after that and that meant a small crowd of very cold, increasingly pissed off people were kept waiting outside freezing their nads off. I was not a happy bunny.

When the staff finally appeared from inside, they spent the next 30 minutes of our time setting up the lights and the till for the door. Again, not a great start. They didn't even apologise for the delay which I thought was arrogant and in very bad form. There is no excuse for keeping people waiting especially on a really cold night.

Once we got in the support band still didn't come on for another hour and a half. They weren't good. Sorry Hot Little Hands but you need to decide on a sound and then make it your own. It was an uninteresting support act and I was singularly unimpressed (and let's not forget here that I have been the mad woman at the front of the amateur gig night screaming encouragement to my beloved musician boyfriend on more than one occasion, so I'm not exactly a harsh critic of performance here!). The sound levels were pretty shocking too I have to say. Not sure how much experience the guy had on the sound deck but I've been to Panto that sounded better.

Finally, the glorious Clare made her casual entrance. We almost didn't know she was on (again, sort out the sound guys!). She then took off her faux fur shrug and popped her lovely green case down and began to have a little chat with the audience. I immediately warmed to her. I mean, I adore her music but this lass is funny! She was relaxed and engaging and very, very watchable. And when the voice finally appeared.... ahhhhhh. What bliss. One of the more memorable moments was when she forgot the lyrics to Oranges and invited a member of the audience to come up on stage and sing it with her. Enter Caitlin, a lovely 18-year old girl (with a huge amount of courage), who knew every single word of the song but was, unfortunately, completely tone deaf! The crowd were very supportive and it was a lovely, if very funny, moment. Clare tried valiently to pitch her harmonies in with this voice that literally went from one end of the scale to the other in mere seconds. Second most memorable moment was when she broke out her Casio (from the late 70's) and did a sort of improvised memory wander back to the days of her youth complete with casio backup effects - I can't remember the names of the different effects but there was a definite Bosanova beat in there at one point. Very funny.

I was left wanting more and with an even higher opinion of her amazing voice than I was when I arrived and that, to me, is the definition of a good live performance.
I enjoyed every minute of it and it was, in the end, a great introduction back to the live music scene. Having said that, it would have to be an extraordinary performer to lure me back to Ruby's any time soon. Big disappointment for such a well known live gig venue.

I'm off to download her latest album The Moon Looked On from ITunes!

1 comment:

docwitch said...

So glad to hear you got out to a gig! That's something I need to do as well. It really helps me feel as though I'm connecting to the old me in some way.

Clare Bowditch - I love this woman! Discovering her music a few years ago was a revelation, and you're spot-on about her warmth and wit. She's got a glorious, earthy energy. And so gifted. Hmmm...can you tell I want to have her babies?

She's a local (kind of) and we often frequent the same cafes. I usually see her with her (very tall and also talented) bloke and her babes.
Wish you and I lived closer, (yes, I know I've said that before). I'd love to go to the odd gig together.