Friday, 27 September 2013

We cannot guarantee that no Leonard Cohen was used in the manufacture of this evening.

H  Trust me, I’m a doctor

“The Leonard Cohen hyper-allergic reaction is invariably fatal unless the antidote (An intravenous application of 'good-time' music) is applied rapidly to the patient's heart”


I went to the Riverside Club, Staines on Thursday night – I certainly hadn’t wanted to but I’d bumped into Micky (who puts on the music) while I was at the Imperial Wharf Jazz festival on Saturday and I promised I’d come.

It never looked like my kind of night – acoustic singer/songwriter, well-meaning, new age and rather spiritual. Me? I’m the opposite, the one in Doc Martens. Meanwhile he played Leonard Cohen and sang ‘Amazing Grace’.

I've always been allergic to Cohen's music and I’d had to listen to his 'Hallelujah' (yelp!) on the radio at lunchtime and that was enough for me. After that I was ready to forgive his manager for running away with all his money. There’s only so much of his stuff a human being can take.

So I didn’t expect a lot. This is Duncan McKenzie on acoustic guitar;

And this is his 81 year old steel guitar.


That steel guitar was what changed my mind – he played a couple of blues (Unchain my Heart and Mabeline) with a slide which cheered me up.

He was a bit of a vituoso and while some of the stuff (quite a lot really) wasn’t my thing, the dramatic quality of his guitar was enough to keep me sat there - stuck.

Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All along the Watchtower’, on acoustic was as electrifying as the original. As for Frank Scully on drums;

using his elbows on the drumskins to bend the sound, sticks on the edges of the cymbals, his hands to play the drums and cymbols, even using the spotlight shade as a cowbell. He was playing more like a percussionist than a drummer especially on ‘Ain’t no Sunshine’.  Chris Mitchell played a semi-acoustic bass, which I haven’t seen before.

Some of Mckenzie’s playing was itself breathtaking – especially on ‘Third Millenium’ where he used a delay pedal to layer his playing a number of times over. I liked the encore a lively, rocking version of ‘Johnny be good’.

So it was a real surprise to me. I didn’t expect to have been enjoying Mark Knopfler or Bruce Springsteen. I can make allowances for anything – but not for Leonard Cohen.
The new programme for the Riverside Club is out and I'll post it soon - it's a great venue in a quiet town and it needs all the support it can get.
They also have a new facebook page; check it out. I've promised to take a look - and I will if I can work out how to register! Oh, how do you like my new logo;

Help me sort out st Peters

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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