Last Saturday proved to be a long, busy and enjoyable day at Bodega. We'd been intending going down to catch Sean McGowan on the Nottingham stop of his 'Graft and Grief" tour - in fact we'd bought tickets the day the gig was announced, so had been looking forward to it for some while. Then, at almost the last minute, youngest daughter (playing as Ayres) was offered a slot at the afternoon Acoustic Sessions held in Bodega's bar, so the evening out morphed into a longer musical extravaganza.
|daughter (Ayres) in action|
The afternoon session started quite early, just before three, but we didn't make it down town till about half past four, and so managed to catch most of the set from the act before my daughter - Holly Redford Jones - and then the last two acts afterwards - Sarah Walk (all the way from the US!) and local indie band, Vega Bay.
There's always a slight problem for musicians playing in bars in that not everyone is there to listen to the music, so there's an amount of background chatter to cut through. I really enjoyed the afternoon but another time I might be more inclined to grab a seat right at the front, or nearest the speakers!
As you can tell from the photos, the performance area was at the front of the bar, with an open window behind the musicians (so they're all in silhouette!) and it was interesting to spot people walking past on the street, stopping to listen for a while and sometimes coming in. I've now spent enough time sitting in pubs listening to folks play to know that the quality was higher than average, so I'll be keeping an eye out for who's playing and hoping to drop back round.
Then after a quick bit to eat, it was off upstairs to the music venue proper.
Then on to Sean McGowan. I saw Sean at JT Soar in Nottingham back in spring, and had the impression then that he had big news that he couldn't quite share at the time. Well, not long after, he announced a record deal with Xtra Mile Recordings, a new album (released last Friday) and this tour, his biggest ever headling tour, to promote it. Exciting times for him! Now supported by a band, his sound is louder and 'rockier' than before. He played a mixture of songs from his new album and old numbers. Milbrook Road and Patchwork remain my favourites but perhaps only because they're the ones I first heard from him nearly two years ago.
He's back in Nottingham soon, as support for a much more well known artist*, but he wasn't really to be drawn on who (though my daughter has a really good guess, and from the look on Sean's face was right!)
*this has been announced now, so it's ok to share that Sean will be back supporting Billy Bragg at Rock City in November. I've always loved Sean's music since I first heard him and it's wonderful to see him being discovered, and getting the opportunity to play to larger audiences. I wonder where he'll be heading next ...