Many thanks to VB chum, Mike Obsborne for sending through this review of Friday’s gig. If you’ve been out and about and feel inspired to put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) get in touch. Ed
First off I must say that tonight was a bit of a surprise. Despite the constant updates on Ventnorblog about him playing (which I seem to have not noticed), I didn’t know Andy McKee was playing in Ryde.
It was boredom coupled with a text from a friend saying ‘Come to Ryde’ that lead me to make the cross Island trip out. My next text was ‘come to the Venue’. OK. Once in I found a flyer that told me what I had come to see; Andy McKee supported by Tim Cheatle and JC and Angelina.
I came in near the end of Tim Cheatle’s set so can’t really say too much, except he’s form Portsmouth and was playing his acoustic guitar with some nice sounding soothing melodic stuff.
Next on were locals JC and Angelina with their mix of acoustic/folk/jazz/blues which was a joy to listen to. As well as the acoustic guitars, JC has some serious skills on a mandolin, and also pretty handy with a Harmonica. Angelina’s distinctive voice matches up perfectly with their energetic style of music, which made for a really good foot tapping 45 minutes or so. I have to admit, even for locals, I have not heard much of JC and Angelina, so I was very pleased to hear them play in a ‘captive’ environment, and certainly on band I will look out for more next year. (I seem to recall they are doing gig in Newport soon)
And onto the main act. Kansas Born and Bred, Andy McKee. I had heard of Andy McKee before like many people may have done, on You Tube. So I was more than pleased to have turned up almost randomly at one of his gigs.
For those who don’t know who he is and have yet to watch any of his videos, this guy is just amazing on a guitar. Yes, there are good guitar players out there, but Andy seems to have a natural gift to make not just sounds, but music, come from his guitar. That sounds obvious “All guitars make music”. No, hit a string, bash the body, play the strings ABOVE the capo, actually use the whole guitar to make sound, but in such a way as to make amazing musical compositions is bordering on an art form.
Lots of his work is inspired by people in his life, as well as those who are no longer, and I think that this has helped him produce very powerful, yet perfectly structured, moving songs. One of his specialties is a Harp Guitar.
Imagine a normal 6-string guitar, but with an extra pyramid-ish body extending out above the neck, with 6 more ‘sub bass’ strings. You would have thought you would need three hands and make playing the thing even harder, not for Andy, just another way to make some sweet music, but with added bass. He was off to play Luxembourg after Ryde, but If you ever get the chance to see him, then defiantly make the trip, its very worth while. He also took time after the show to sign CDs and pose for photos, which I thought was decent of him.
Now onto a bit of a moan, but I feel its worthy of a mention as talking to some of the staff and other people, I wasn’t alone. I really enjoyed the gig, listened to music I wouldn’t normally see, saw some really good guitar playing (from all three acts) and like most of the audience, will be harping on about it to those who didn’t go for a few weeks. But I will also say to them that there was minority of the ‘audience’ who despite paying £6 or £8 to watch these people play, decided to stand at the back and talk to their friends throughout the entire evening, spoiling it for the rest of us. Surly if you want to go and chat to your mates, you goto a pub, not spend money to try and talk over bands trying to perform. It got to the stage where even Andy said ‘If you want to talk, then go somewhere else to do it’. It seems a shame with the future of The Venue unsure of that people would want It to be seen in a negative way, but like I say, it was a minority, and they left the second the lights came up. I stayed to get my CD signed :-)
Despite the small greyish cloud, it was a really good night. Here’s hoping The Venue continues and that more people can get to see and discover new and different music on the IOW.
[Images reproduced with kind permission of Roger – thanks]