“Wow I think we’ve witnessed something quite special tonight,” remarks Dan Willson as he takes to the stage.
It’s been a few years since I last saw Withered Hand and the set up has changed since then.
There’s more guitars, keys and French horn and no strings.
And songs sound slightly different from how I remember – those from the first album rearranged for a full band.
On some like ‘Jubilee’ Dan comments that this might as well be a new song, as “We’re still working out how to play this”.
Play it like that I’d say. It worked!
Musically there may have been evolution but thankfully the wit and observation remains – “This is about me and King Creosote playing to 14 people in a club on Sunset Strip,” is how he nonchalantly introduces ‘King of Hollywood’.
Speaking of which, there’s a definite KC influence to Hamish Hawk, the middle act of the night.
There’s that nostalgic melancholy mixed with the lyrical spikiness of Ballboy and the frenetic almost hyperactive performance of someone like Frank Turner.
His songs touch on dysfunctional relationships, bizarre encounters with Rastafarians and on stand-out song ‘Catherine Opens A Window’ a guided tour through his memories to a community and a world that no longer exists.
I’d been recommended to go and see Hamish Hawk if I could – the fact he was supporting just turned out to be a perfect coincidence.
Beginning the night there was Bobby Kakouris and Lizzie Reid.
They played a few nice-sounding, quite sweet but quite short songs to begin with.
Lulling us into a false sense of security before hitting us with the sucker punch… from then on things got dark.
Lyrics about more dysfunctional relationships (but from a different perspective), depression, obsessions, drug taking and pizza are all delivered with an innocence in Bobby’s voice and matched with Lizzie’s excellent solo guitar playing.
It was like some kind of Dark Jazz.
Indeeed, the whole night was a lot to take in and quite intense.
One of those nights that takes a while to process. Or to quote Dan Willson again… we witnessed something quite special.