Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where music is born

Picture this: a back room in a beautiful old pub near Newington Green - creaking wooden floor-boards, fairy lights twinkling overhead, reflected in the atrium ceiling. A simple stage is set up with tube lighting running around a small area, with a stool, mike stand and a couple of speakers.

You sink into an old sofa, beer in hand, as the first act runs a sound-check. Slowly, people start filtering in, but not so many that it is crowded or uncomfortable or too noisy. There are plenty of seats for everyone, though the sofas are at a premium. Avoid the old church pews if you can.

You settle in and watch a series of amazing new musicians get up and do their thing, each one with their own particular style and technique and way with their guitar or lyrics. The room ripples with laughter at some witty line, or goes into a kind of awed trance at the intricate sounds one man can make with a guitar. One artist who looks like a woodsman from the 70's urges the crowd to join in at the chorus, and they do; shyly at first. But this a good crowd, mostly made up of friends of the people playing, and they are all eager to support one another.

People of London: I would strongly recommend that anyone in the North East who loves seeing new, live music head down to the Edinburgh Cellars of a Wednesday night, for a lovely, chilled out, and inspiring evening of new music. You can listen to what I heard last night here.

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