Wilmington Arms, Islington Wednesday 17th October 2012
Chris Singleton and his band the Distractions were playing their first gig in two years as in-between times he has become a proud dad. The band are the same as when I last saw them back in 2010 – John Gibbons (backing vocals), Stelios Kalisperides (guitars), Zane Maertens (bass) and Ben Woollacott (drums) – less a piano player. The latter meant he had to make his live debut on piano, something he approached with trepidation but he was fine once he was behind the keyboard. Before this we had Lettie as support, who played a set of self-penned tunes playing guitar and backed by a female bass/backing vocalist. Pleasant enough tunes but she needs a few more live gigs under her belt to hone her stage persona.
The venue, a small room next to a bar, had good acoustics and a small but appreciative crowd. Interestingly some of the crowd had only seen Chris play online gigs before and this was a chance to see him live away from streaming images. A good example of the internet bringing in a few more folks to a live gig. The set was a mix of songs from his previous two albums plus a couple of new songs from his new album, a concept piece based on showbiz. The new songs ‘All You’ve Got to Do Is Go To Bed With Me’ and ‘Anyone Can Be a Star’ have strong song-a-long choruses and bode well for the new album.
Of the older songs it is always a delight to hear ‘Get Up’, which gets rocked up for its live version and another fast paced tune ‘Lady Gasoline’ goes down well too. With Chris on piano it is time for the slower numbers like ‘Tonight’ and his onstage banter over his fear of playing piano live is good fun. In fact he is on form tonight with his banter which makes for a more intimate gig – he may have to change this slightly when he plays the bigger stages! ‘Twisted City’, ‘Worry Number One’ and ‘Lou Reed’ are other set highlights and for a band that hasn’t played live in two years they are extremely tight and fluid.
Pop rock bliss and a good time is guaranteed at a Chris Singleton gig and even better is the prospect of a new album.
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HOLLIS BROWN Do Me Right (Cool Green Recordings/Mascot)
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THE RAPTOR TRAIL New World (2016)
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