This promotional gig for Thea’s excellent new album Regardless, complete with supporting string quartet, proved at least one thing – there’s no finer British vocalist/singer songwriter on the scene at present.
Finding local ‘talent’ to open the set – a guy called Johnny Sands who did his best but was frankly out of his league – wasn’t, perhaps, the smartest of moves. Yes, it set Thea in the best possible light, but a innovative reworking of Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Killing Moon’ apart, it succeeded only in driving patrons towards the bar.
Thea, on the other hand was the consummate professional with a set that, while focusing on her new album, dipped into recent releases and further back into her catalogue. In particular, the string section brought material from her 2011 Sandy Denny project (Don’t Stop Singing) to life, while her self-depreciating banter and good humour served to strengthen the bond with an appreciative audience. And Gilmore herself was clearly grateful for the support that has pushed ‘Regardless’ to the boundaries of the Top 40. A significant achievement for an independent artist, but one very much merited.
On the night, her band led by hubbie Nigel Stonier were as tight as you might expect, at times perhaps overpowering the string quartet and it would have been nice to see more of the piano/strings combination that worked so well on ‘Mainstream’ and which was a platform that presented Gilmore’s vocal prowess in all its glory.
In fact, it was the unaccompanied performance of ‘The Amazing Floating Man’ – taken from her ‘tour only’ Beginners EP – that held the audience most transfixed. A pin dropping could have been heard during its quite stunning rendition. The closing encore ‘My Friend Goodbye’, supported just by Stonier on acoustic guitar, was equally poignant.
The other thing the date proved was that Gilmore has it all – she can do folk, pop, soft rock all with equal aplomb. And on the night she gave a peerless vocal performance. I’ve seen her several times now, and this was by far the most complete. Combined with Regardless including some of her most commercial/radio friendly work to date, and clearly striking a chord with the public, could it be that she’s on finally on the brink of achieving the wider recognition she so richly deserves?
Review by Pete Whalley
Set List: This Is How You Find The Way/ Old Soul/ Beautiful Hopeful/ Start As You Mean To Go On/ This Road/ Brother Can You Spare Me A Dime/ The Amazing Floating Man/ Mainstream/ Pain In My Heart/ I Will Not Disappoint You/ Spit And Shine/ Regardless/ Love Came Looking For Me/ You’re The Radio/Something To Sing About/ London/ This Girl Is Taking Bets/ My Friend Goodbye.
Album review (Regardless)
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 5 August (Mon-Fri)
COCO MONTOYA I Wouldn’t Wanna Be You (Alligator)
SKYFEVER Burning Hands (OTI Records)
HENRY’S FUNERAL SHOE High Shoulders Everywhere (indie)
MICHAEL J BOLTON Trans Lunar Injection (Market Square)
Featured Albums w/c 5 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 STRANDED New Dawn (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 HOLLOW HAZE Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Sea (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 SESSION AMERICANA North East (indie)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BRIAN ROBERTSON – Diamonds And Dirt (2011)
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