Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker at Shoreditch Town Hall, 26 October 2016

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Back in Shoreditch for another concert. At this rate I’ll have to roll my trousers up and grow a beard! A different sound altogether to Pumarosa on Monday. This time I was at Shoreditch Town Hall for Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, the folk duo who had blown me away at End of the Road.

What I loved then was the purity and beauty of Josienne’s voice, backed by Ben’s subtle guitar. She joked about the depressing themes of their songs, but the sad songs are often the best, and for me it was uplifting.

So I was really looking forward to tonight. I was going on my own so I checked Twitter for the timings. Didn’t want to hang around in the venue too much. The beers at concerts are generally a bit rubbish, though, in fairness they had Red Stripe on the night. Had a fair bit to do at work and a blog to post, so I stayed late-ish in the office, went up to Liverpool Street, had a pint of Brooklyn lager in the Wetherspoons and wandered up to the town hall for the 9.15 start. Or so I thought, having read a tweet from Josienne at lunch time.

At the door the receptionist said to me, you’re just in time for the second half. Que? I assumed/ hoped that meant the support bands were finished and Josienne and Ben were on. It was five past nine. Phew, I thought, just got there for the start.

The concert was a showcase for the new album, and that’s what they played. I’ve got the album, but have only played it once, so wasn’t too familiar. That’s not a problem – it was a lovely hour, drifting through the songs. Those beautiful vocals, that subtle guitar, but also a piano, double bass, viola, cello and drums. With Josienne picking up a saxophone for one song. And some poetic interludes. Sophisticated, even jazzy. Lush – and just a little bit MOR. No wonder Radio 2 loves it.

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The poetic interludes.

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At End of the Road we had the raw sound. Today was the full works. Now I’m not averse to a sophisticated sound, or lush arrangements, or jazziness. In the right place, in the right mood. I sensed it would be like this from the two albums I’ve heard. But the thing that so drew me in at End of the Road was lost, to some extent, in the added layers of sophistication.

It was all over just after ten. The set seemed surprisingly short. I asked a guy sitting near to me if they’d been on before nine. Yes, he said, they came on at eight and did a set of their old songs.

Oh no! I missed half the show. What an arse! My own fault. I didn’t notice that the tweet I read was from three days ago. A later one said 8pm tonight. Durr…

Anyway, nothing I can do about it. I really enjoyed what I saw, even though it didn’t move me in quite the way as that End of the Road show.

Lessons: (1) get there for the support bands. (2) read things properly! (3) go and see them again.

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About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love outside work: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. And anything else that I happen to think is worth writing about!
This entry was posted in Music - concerts, lists, reflections and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker at Shoreditch Town Hall, 26 October 2016

  1. Anonymous says:

    Could have been worse – you could have gone to Didcot.

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