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GIGS 2012

Sunday 29th July 2012

Hop Leaf, Reading, RG1 2QZ

Boho at The Hop open-mic hosted by Rob Sowden

"A Case of More Than a Few"

What a remarkable night at the Hop Leaf last night. The nineteen year old newcomer Alex Chalk blew us away with his songs and guitar playing. Prior to that I'd already been knocked out by Luke Paulo who just sounded great - probably the best I'd ever heard him. He also seemed to be playing with a dominance which I hadn't really noticed before, as if he decided to take charge of the microphone and indeed the audience. Maybe it was the stars aligning, or chance, or coincidence or the really exceptional sound that Rob Sowden was getting through the PA but I felt the same about Maija's performance too.

Maija's first song was a new one ("prolific" is an understatement and she possibly makes Prince look lazy) which surprise, surprise I really liked. But then she played my favourite Joni Mitchell song "A Case of You" which really did leave me speechless (I know, I know, really?). It took me right back to the time when I was listening to Mitchell's album Blue and do you know what I'm not sure if I didn't prefer Maija's version: there was an intensity there which was just sublime. Maija is playing the song at The Rising Sun Art Centre's Joni Mitchell Tribute Night this forthcoming Friday and I would encourage you to go and see Maija perform the song. (There are many other talented musician s playing too, Paula Curtis to name but one and you know how much I've lauded her in the past.)

Congratulations to Rob Sowden because it did feel that he weaved some magic out of the performers last night. The bar was certainly raised by those performances I've mentioned which I felt I was nowhere near reaching. It's disappointing but without wanting to appear to make excuses I guess I was experimenting a little with new songs; there was also a lead malfunction on the guitar which spoiled Crackerjack and also in the upper registers it felt like I was singing way out of tune. I know the sound set up was the same for everyone and when I was in the audience everybody sounded great so maybe it was just me though I did notice for the first time ever Phil Morrison seemingly struggling in the upper registers too. So perhaps it's a problem with the upper registers combined with a lack of monitor and standing near the PA that causes that effect? It's probably just me though. No matter, wind feels out of my sails anyway at the moment, but it doesn't stop me enjoying a case of more than a few stunning performances last night.

My Set: