Being ten-thumbed and tone-deaf has made me – in my head – elevate talented musicians to an almost super-human level. I excitedly installed GarageBand on my iPad and still couldn’t create anything even half-tangibly considerable as music – I’m just not wired up right for it. Which is sad, because I do love music. I went to see some music last night, in a room upstairs in Spanky Van Dykes – along with a disappointingly small number of other people.
I suppose it’s difficult to compete when there’s the lure of Steps playing the Arena on the same evening.
Anyway, I was there to see the Jon Amor Blues Group – Jon Amor is a friend of one of my friends, and he’s oft eulogised about them, so once they were playing in Nottingham it was a done deal. He can make some staggeringly amazing noises with a guitar without crossing over into becoming over-indulgent, coupled with some great songs – my favourite, childishly, was ‘She Thought I was an Eagle’ – mainly because the continuation of the lyrics revealed he was actually a crow, and it tickled me (it was also a great song!)
Despite the undoubted technical skill from all four band members, there was a lovely fluidity of what they were doing too – they occasionally didn’t pause between songs, seamlessly moving from one to another as one, and d’you know what? They looked like they were enjoying themselves too – in spite what must have been a disappointing turn out for the gig. After the performance Jon said he’d been suffering with a cold – it certainly didn’t show.
So an hour and a half of this was bargain enough for a mere fiver entry fee – well the support act was really good too. Also a blues-infused ensemble – the four-piece Nat Martin Band. A mix of covers and original material (as not exactly a blues aficionado I wouldn’t have recognised the covers anyway!), there’s a heady mix of blues, funk and jazz influences and a real mix of paces. And more outstanding guitar-work.
The introduction of a guest female vocalist for a couple of tracks (who was also awesome) gave a nice contrast too – criminally I’ve forgotten her name.
All in all, a top evening’s entertainment – I wish it were not on a school night so I could’ve indulged in a few beers, and a few more people might have made the effort to have come along to see some really talented folks putting on a great show. Just think, you could’ve paid ten times the price to see less than a hundredth of the talent in the Arena. If you spot either band on tour in your area then you should most definitely check them out!
Both also have albums available through their sites – the Jon Amor Blues Group here, and the Nat Martin Band here (and indeed, through the ubiquitous iTunes). You could do a lot worse than to check them out!
I couldn’t find a video from last night on YouTube yet (there were a few recordings going on), so here’s one from a different gig, of a song called The Underdogs: