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Gig review

Mary Hampton / Thirty Pounds Of Bone / The R.G Morrison

So you like interesting music, huh? So do I. And so do Aberdeen-based geniuses Interesting Music Promotions (IMP), which is why they have co-promoted (along with Vocoustics) this wonderful evening showcasing some of the delightfully interesting exponents of the Drift Collective.The Drift Collective is a close-knit label originating from Devon that specialises largely in modern folk music (with a twist of lemon) with the emphasis being very much upon a DIY ethic. One could easily call them a family. Probably the most beautiful family in the country.The first act to take the stage is co-founder, The R.G Morrison. Immediately, the audience pitter-patter ceases and the finger-picked electric guitar rings through. The first description that comes to mind is “lo-fi folk”, but that could be deemed unfair as the vocal is perfectly polished and perfectly in tune. It’s certainly raw, however, but this is clearly intentional. The chord progressions are quaint and bittersweet and I can’t help but think that if this was played louder and with slightly more tempo, that these would be some of my favourite pop songs in the whole World; melancholic chord progressions – check; wonderfully constructed vocal melodies – check; distant (yet crucial) female backing vocal – check. This is considerably closer to perfection than I had anticipated – and my anticipation had been running high.
With my appetite thoroughly whetted, I wanted more. I was in luck – next up was Thirty Pounds Of Bone. After just two minutes I knew I was witnessing a performance from a man who has song-writing talent in abundance. His between song banter is full of self-depreciation and nervous energy, which only makes him twice as endearing. The songs are sincere in their narrative, with an overriding theme appearing to be life beside the sea. Oh, and killing your girlfriend and failing to dispose of her remains. But it’s the beauty of his reverb-laden voice that really engages me throughout, as it harks back the ethereal quality of Mark Kozelek. It almost doesn’t matter what he’s singing about, just so long as he sings then I will be eternally happy.At this point, I have love hearts in my pupils. I am sitting on a small wooden boat in a shimmering lake.
Then Mary Hampton joins me, along with her four-string tenor guitar, and plays, for me only, some songs that make me realise that I have hairs on the back of my neck. She sings about birds. She sings about love. She uses imagery involving honey and bees. Her voice mesmerizes and envelopes me and I cannot move. I do not want to move. Her songs are beautifully uncomplicated. I can hear pretty birds singing in the sky. Then they stop. Mary climbs out of my boat and I suddenly realise, thanks to the overwhelming applause, that I’m actually in The Tunnels. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.