The UK Country scene is booming at the moment so why was there only 7 or 8 people in Gullivers the other night to watch three brilliant acts? Well I’ll avoid that debate for now but for those of you who weren’t there, you missed a treat. The show opened with Simon James, a guy who is fast becoming one of my favourite artists on the scene. He’s got some great songs particularly Passenger which I have been playing on repeat recently! Just before the show Simon had lost his band somewhere in Manchester but they all arrived in time luckily and brought their A game.
Second on the bill was a man who I’ve heard a lot of good things about but had never seen live before. Robbie Cavanagh, accompanied by a pedal steel player and bass guitarist, took to the stage. Robbie mostly played songs from his last record To Leave/To Be Left which features some great songs with some beautiful lyrics. My favourite song he sang that night was Godsend. His vocal range is great, he has a really lovely falsetto and the other musicians in his band were tight. I was mesmerised by the pedal steel, I love that instrument and this arrangement worked really well with Robbie’s music. He was softly spoken when he talked between songs very conversational with the audience. As it was pancake Tuesday he was asking wether we’d had our pancakes, half the crowd didn’t like them! I was very impressed with Robbie’s music and look forward to seeing him again soon.
Last but not least was Square One. Again this was a band I had heard a lot about but had never really listened to before or seen live. The band who apparently played at C2C last year took to the stage warning the audience that they were going to get a little loud. The Southern Rock group, made up of Sam Boxell, Sam Boughen, Ben Johnson, Dan Russell and Andrew Willett, started as they meant to go on, loud and with lots of energy. They played a mixture of songs off their latest record including single Feels Like Home and some new material they had been working on including a song they’d recently written in rehearsal and practiced up in soundcheck. You couldn’t tell it was that new though as the band was tight. They enjoyed stomping along to their toe-tapping songs although the bassist enjoyed it a little too much and split his pants which the rest of the band kept bringing up and laughing about! I was impressed with Banjo and Mandolin player Dan who kept swapping between the two instruments. The boys didn’t seem to mind the size of the audience and kept chatting to them from the stage and the energy levels remained high throughout the show.