Monday, 2 December 2013

Brooks Williams & The Crash Blossoms.

Went to my local venue The Baths Hall (http://www.bathshall.co.uk ) for a gig this weekend. To see Brooks Williams and also in support The Crash Blossoms. I didn't know what to expect. To be honest it was just an excuse to see some live music. All I had heard was that Brooks was one of the top 100 acoustic guitarists in the world. I've been to the Baths before, as a drunken youth 20 years ago (but we'll not go into that today) and I saw Seth Lakeman the previous October in the main room (one of my top 3 gigs ever, don't knock folk music until you've seen Seth) but this show was in the Bar Lounge, a very chilled out place to watch music. Tea lights and sofas, ambient would be a good word for it.

The Crash Blossoms

The show opened with The Crash Blossoms a capable and endearing three pisoece from Hull who made some good choices of songs to cover. The main man had some good chat and had "less fat on him than a chip" as one of my fellow watchers described him but he could definitely sing very well despite his slightness and having a bit of a sore throat, which you never caught a hint of when he was singing.

They filled in a second slot as one of the other acts was a no-show. So respect to them for that. Their slow version of I Don't Like Mondays was spellbinding. In fact all their covers were solid, a downbeat Freefalling, and a version of All Along The Watch Tower to finish off their first slot. My dad said they would open with Forever Young for their second slot to which I said "No way will they do two Bob Dylan covers in one set especially not effectively one after the other". They then struck up. "Haha" said my Dad "Told You. Dylan. Forever Young"...

...It was Serve Somebody.

So half right. And that was probably my favourite song of their set. The shame was they didn't play more of their own stuff. The first song they did of their own Simple Enough was very good. I wasn't so much a fan of the second one but that might have been because they told me what it was about before they played it. Its a bit of niggle with me. So here, check it out without a description.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5zU5e1CljM (sorry its a link it won't let me find the video)

and here's their website http://thecrashblossoms.wix.com/home

I bought their The Covered Up Sessions EP which has the following music on it - Freefalling by Tom Petty, Waiting For The Storm by Richard Shindell, I Don't Like Mondays by Bob GeldofSea Breeze by Tyrone Wells, Satan & St.Paul by John Fullbright, Galway Girl by Steve Earle & Sharon Shannon. It is very nice. I just wish it had the Dylan songs on as well.


Brooks Williams

So what about the head-liner - Brooks Williams Well. As a (budding) guitarist some guitar playing makes you think, some inspires you and some just plain blows you away. I think Brooks did all three. He was excellent and he had a good voice to compliment the voice of the guitar. Some times you get the feeling that someone is so good they don't actually know the song they're just so versed in music and so experienced they just instinctually know what to play next, where to put there hands and fingers, like a typist that doesn't have to look down no matter what you tell them to write. At one with the music, in the zone. Jedi Guitar style. I noticed he was strumming in different positions to create a different sound, took note, thanks Brooks I will try that. At one point he changed the tuning of his guitar and it was literally two pegs turned once each doink, doink, and that was it. No other movement no corrections. That's what practice can do son hah, brilliant.

Brooks' tools of the trade.

I thoroughly enjoyed his set and I'm repeat playing the "merch" album I bought. I kind of bought it thinking I probably won't listen to it that much but I like you, you've entertained me, you've earned it. But its nicely produced and even though I'm not really a bluesy person (at least not yet) I find myself getting into it and its got some harmonica on it, so that's me sorted. The highlight for me was his instrumentals and being torn between wanting to close my eyes and just listen, or have a look and see what the hell he was doing. My favourite songs were his last before the encore Frank Delandry, and Walking You Off My Mind a proper blues song and it gave me an idea for a song of my own.

Here is his website http://www.brookswilliams.com lots of links to music and vids on there. Check it out especially if you like to appreciate some sweet playing, some slide guitar and a bit of the blues. All in all well worth it. I hope to see more stuff like this now. 

I'm lucky in having a great local venue the only criticism I have is that I knew nothing about this, if my dad hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't have gone. I'm not sure how he found out. I get emails from the Baths but don't think I saw this on there maybe I'm wrong but I'm not the only one. I've actually come across a lot of people complaining they never knew who was playing at the Baths and have missed out. Baths Hall there seems to be a hole somewhere in your promotion strategy that needs filling. Its such a great venue something for the town to be genuinely proud of it seems a shame that local people are missing out a little. Having said that the place was full and I had a great time. (I have since spoken to The Baths Hall they were very nice. Apparently all their comedy shows sell out so you wont be able to buy tickets at the time of the show the best thing to do is sign up to the mailing list and book early) 

Lets finish with a song. This is excellent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVDkDscIm_0

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