Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gig Review - Show of Hands Tunbridge Wells

I don't get to many gigs these days.  The change of work situation, i.e. working only 2 days a week now means financially I cannot justify going to that many especially with the cost of many tickets these days.  I heard an interview with Mark King (Level 42) the other day and he was commenting "I remember when albums were £15 in the shops and a gig ticket was £3.  Now people give albums away for free and charge you £50 to see them live".  Very true - the shift in where you can make a living from music I suppose.

Anyhoo... Mrs F and I went with a few other friends to see Show of Hands at Tonbridge Well.  Show of Hands may not be a household name, which is a shame for them as frankly one of the best folk bands about and maybe there in lies the issue, the narrow characterisation of them into a particular genre... however they have been known to play Peter Gabriel covers so what does that say about breaking down the preconceptions?

Just brilliant is my overall summary.  Three stunning musicians, Steve Knightley is a stunning song writer tacking tough issues in his lyrics, singing with authority and passion and a great guitarist and mandolin player too.  He plays guitar, tenor guitar, octave mandolin and ukulele throughout the set.  Impressive you say... well it would be if he wasn't in a band with Phil Beer who is just is simply a virtuoso on anything he picks up!  Guitar, violin, mandolin, ukulele you name it he plays it, and brilliantly too.  The final member is Miranda Sykes who has one of the finest female voices around and is a stonking double bass player too.  Just the three of them produce an amazing wall of sound.  They started with I'll Haunt You - one of my favourites of theirs and I believe everyone was just captivated from the start.  They played a short first set as "our own support act" then returned after a short break for a varied and well executed full set ending up on the crowd pleasing and interactive Cousin Jack.

Here is I'll Haunt You live (not the show I saw) - honestly this was the first number on Thursday and they were bang on the harmonies just like this.  A band of true genius.


  1. I am digging the harmonies. There is no other instrument that impresses me and touches me more than the human voice.

  2. Just as an aside, as important as live music is to me, I will trade ANY DAY working two days a week for seeing fewer gigs. Seems a fair exchange to me.