Tag Archive: emily barker and red clay halo

Library - 24Review by PfalzDxii

I had been looking forward to this concert since first it was announced. I had never seen Faye Rogers before, but had heard good things about her songs. I had seen Colour the Atlas a few times, Jen Olive, as often as I can, and Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, just once. I knew it was going to be a great concert, and in aid of a very good cause, too.

I arrived early so I could sit fairly close to the front so I could have a good view. Both the front pews were empty, but I chose not to sit in them. Habit really, a trick I learned decades ago because…. but no, that’s another story. Christ Church is not as old as some, but it has its own history, a fact that is evident as soon as you enter. Long since, has the church just been seen as a place for worship, and for christenings, marriages, and funerals! I had gone with a relative, and as we chose our seats, I made sure the person in front of me wouldn’t block my view. There were helpers from the church and from the charity. There were a few local musicians lending a hand, too. The atmosphere was of joyful expectation, and the audience was many and varied. There were little children and persons of all ages, right up to my own.

When it came time to begin the concert, Marie Lennon stepped up to the mic. Oh yes, this was a proper music concert, with amps and everything! It had been advertised as candle-lit, and so it was, there were candles everywhere. There were also fairy lights adorning the front of the “stage”, and around the mic stand. Most of the effect was lost for the time being as light was streaming in through the stained glass windows. Marie was visibly shaken by the number of people now seated in front of her. I don’t know how many she had expected. I don’t know how many had pre-booked. She sounded so happy as she thanked everyone for attending and spoke of the charity. She then looked around for the first act, whilst announcing the name of Faye Rogers. Slowly, the young lady seated immediately in front of me, stood up, walked down the aisle, and onto the stage.

Faye is a singer/songwriter who performs standing, whilst playing guitar. She sings with a clear crisp voice. Her voice full of emotion, singing songs of love and emotion. Young love, new love. Not for the last time that evening, a singer thanked the audience for the applause. What a revelation Faye was. She held the audience with wonderful songs and in the manner of their delivery. Her Soundcloud name is fayelaura7. Go and listen for yourself.

Jess Hall is the singer in the band “Colour the Atlas”. Her three male colleagues play guitar, keyboard, and drums. During the performance I smiled, not only because I was enjoying the wonderful singing of Jess, but at the restraint from the band. I have seen them play much louder in venues. They seemed at half volume befitting the surroundings. Oh, what a marvellous evening. So musical. So moody. So good.

At the beginning of the evening, Marie had announced that there were four acts. Three local, and Emily Barker. This simple sentence had put me in the right frame of mind for the evening. Yes indeed, Emily is an Australian. That means that Jen Olive from Albuquerque is now a Swindon local. Yes she is currently living here, and I believe she would like to, permanently, and that would suit me very well. Why, well I have been in love with Jen Olive’s music for a number of years now, and attend her gigs when I can. Jen is fun. Her music is fun. It is complicated. It is quirky. It has strange time signatures, and she sings with a verve that few will ever be able to match. As Jen started her set, darkness descended outside. We now sat through the evening in candle light. The temperature too dropped. It all added to the sense of occasion. For the first half of her set, she sang and played her guitar, alone. She sat facing the audience. She too thanked them for their applause. She explained to those that didn’t already know, her delight in Swindon’s music scene. Not many musicians could keep up with her deliciously strange and beautiful rhythms, but Stu Rowe, can. For the second half of her set, Stu played bass guitar with her. Jen and Stu were playing together for the first time in three years. I was on my own Cloud 9.

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo are not from around these parts. That meant they had to travel here to give of their time and their talent. They did this for the charity. They did this, as all the acts did, for the sake of others. They announced that the following night they had a gig in Manchester. Did they stint their performance because of this? No, of course not. They played a blinder. Emily Barker, together with the three ladies who make up her band, gave a superb performance. Emily played guitar whilst singing. Her band played violin/viola, accordion, and cello. What an all encompassing warm and delightful sound. What an evening. At the end, Emily asked the other acts back on stage for a finale. Refuge has captured this moment in a photograph. Faye, Jess, Emily flanked by two of her band, and Jen. There was clapping, some cheering, and a few even stood.

This had been an evening to savour. Refreshments had been complimentary. At the end, there was still wine left over, and people were asked to finish it. I had been looking forward to the evening very much, and it had excelled my expectations. Thank you one and all. I do so hope that lots of money was raised for the Women’s Refuge.

Library - 23After the doom and gloom of recent events surrounding venue closures, it’s good to see that the town can still put a full event diary in front of its discerning gig going public. Maybe it’s the fact that the rain has got slightly warmer and the Met Office is predicting another half our of sunshine sometime in late August, but what ever the reason there is plenty to choose from this week.

We start with a change in the previously advertised schedule. Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight was to feature one of the most popular bands on their roster, The James Warner Prophecies, but sadly their travel plans for some European festival dates mean that they are no longer available. But fear not, their replacement comes in the shape of False Gods who alchemize elements of Muse and The Manics to make their music an intriguing proposition. Headliners Empire manage to blend pop melody into hard and angular rock deliveries and opening the night is Babies vs. Rabies, who are like nothing you have experienced before, unless you have come across music that is in turn hypnotic, oppressive, violent, atmospheric, brutal and car crash beautiful, sort of like a cross between an art-punk band and a napalm strike. Or a concerto for guitar and hand grenade!

The Hive has similarly original music on offer in the form of The Blue Trees, a stripped back, lo-fi, roots rock sound that will appeal to fans of The Black Keys, the Black Crows and even some bands with other colours in their title.

True legends can be found at The Wyvern Theatre when Colin Blunstone and virtuoso organist Rod Argent lead The Zombies through all the classics. Fifty years on and the band still sound amazing. Those with more of a jazz leaning might wish to head for the Arts Centre as The Bateman Brothers, aided by a host of famous friends, pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Staying at The Arts Centre for Friday and it’s the welcome return of Lotte Mullan; story telling, contemporary folk and famous for her “inside the music business blog.” Musically think Laura Marling meets Loretta Lynn, but her stories make her more like the Bridget Jones of the music industry. More folk can be found at The Beehive with Bateleurs, this time a sort of trans-Atlantic blend that makes you think that if Dylan had not been born alongside Highway 61 but had embraced the A1 in the same mythical fashion, these songs might have been the result.

Two big events happening on Saturday, firstly the Fieldview Festival Launch show at The Victoria. Fieldview is one of the success stories of the local festival scene and their launch show will give you a taste of the event to come, a host of acts to catch including the channeling of the spirits of long forgotten delta bluesmen by Sam Green and The Midnight Heist and the Cameron Brothers (the people who brought you Old School Tie) current brilliant musical vehicle, Weatherstorms.

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Refuge gig at the Museum and Art Gallery where a combination of some stunning music, a very worthy cause and a wonderfully intimate setting made for an unforgettable night out. Following last years success, this years event, to raise money for Swindon Women’s Aid, will take place at Christ Church, Old Town and features the harmonious arrangements and velvet vocals of Emily Barker and Red Clay Halo (pictured), the mathy-acoustic intricacies of Jen Olive, the emotionally rich and beautifully economical songs of Colour The Atlas and the pin drop talents of Faye Rogers. I can’t recommend this show highly enough.

The place to be on Monday is in the garden of The Running Horse as their Acoustic Garden show is an all day celebration of the brilliant music they host their through out the year. This cast of thousands, okay, cast of many, includes Gilmore n’ Jaz, Louise Latham, Alice Offley, Benji Clements and Ethemia. And that’s not the half of it, so get down there for more music than you can shake a shaky thing at.

On Tuesday, drummer Dave Betts brings his Latin Jazz Quartet to Baker Street; so put your dancing shoes on and revel in this wonderful jazz, funk and Latin fusion driven by by Dave’s kit and congas, timbales and tablas. Very exotic!