Sierra Hurtt – at The Running Horse, Swindon, 24th April 2013

Library - 15Review by PfalzDxii

Swindon is currently going through a difficult time recently with the closure of music venues. Half of my working life is spent at night, and I cannot attend everything I want to. In the past I have taken a day’s holiday simply to enable me to see a favourite singer/songwriter, or band. Life, so they say, is not fair. If a colleague becomes unwell, I can be asked to work at a moment’s notice. If I want one night off, as paid holiday, I must give 28 days’ notice, in writing. So please, venues, singers, and bands, give as much notice of a forthcoming gig, as soon, and as often, as you can. Not all of us can come out of an evening, or even for a weekend afternoon. Some of us live “unconventional lifestyles”.

I love the singing of Sierra Hurtt-Akselrod (to give her full name). She is I believe, the last of my trio of exceptions. I’m not too keen on classical music, but love the music of Ana Silvera. I’m not too keen on punk, but love the music of The Dacoits. I’m not too keen on soul music, but love the music of Sierra Hurtt. All three have a musicality that is awe inspiring at its best. Sierra sings mainly her own glorious songs, and on an odd occasion, will sing a cover of a song that means a lot to her.

The first notification of this gig that I saw, was only five days before the gig. Yes I am aware that sometimes these events are indeed arranged at short notice. The following four nights I was working. I hoped I was not belatedly going to be called into work on Wednesday. And then I was! Swopping with a colleague, I worked Wednesday, day. No gigs for me on the following four nights though. Bugger. I had never been to a gig at The Running Horse before, and arrived in plenty of time, shortly after finishing my work. I glanced around and chose a spot against the bar where I thought I would be out of the way. This was just behind the mixing desk, and half way between the venue room, and that where pool and darts are played. There was a notice in front of me to the effect that children under 16 were not allowed beyond this point.

Lauren Castle started the evening’s entertainment. She played electric keys, and sang. Her first words were:”Hello, my name’s Lauren Castle, and I’m 15”. I re-read the notice directly in front of me. No pool or darts for her then!! She played and sang a mixture of her own, and a few covers. She sang with such clarity and with a mature enthusiasm, we are bound to hear a lot more from her in the future.

Sierra recently left her home town of Philadelphia for her mini tour of Portugal and the UK. She brought a four piece band with her to the Running Horse. A multi instrumentalist from Portugal, electric bassist from Philly, rhythm guitarist and drummer from Swindon. And oh, what music! Soul, funk, reggae, all mixed into Sierra’s fabulous style and with her passion for her music, most obvious. The audience responded to her sheer quality. There was trumpet, keyboard, trombone, and euphonium. Have you ever heard Sierra sing the Beatles “Come Together”, backed with a euphonium? I now have. It was delicious! Sierra sang acapella, always a highlight. Fabulous music. Thank you Sierra. The audience loved it. The very small audience, loved it.

Come back soon, Sierra. Please though can we have a little more notice? Had this gig been any when over the following four nights, I could not have attended. I am very lucky to have caught this wonderful performance! I look forward to the next, very much indeed!!!

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