Putting on an LRB gig does not always happen smoothly, there can be a fair amount of unforeseen complications, to put it mildly!
Today we had uncertainties with the weather, a printer that wouldn’t print and a speaker that failed a couple of hours prior to soundcheck.
On a positive note, the weather held out much better than expected, the printing was sorted and new speakers were acquired just in time!
As the old saying goes, ‘The show must go on’, and so with Lenny and a debut of the new Roland RD-64 house keyboard we opened our first true LRB triple headline artist show.
Lenny, playing songs from her new album HEARTS and accompanied by Andrew on acoustic guitar opened with Standing at the corner of your heart. It was clear she was loving the experience of playing live, relaxed and confident, introducing the songs and the stories behind them.
Bones, Lover (mixed with the theme from Ed Sheeran’s The Shape of You) and You are my everything, a song she wrote age 12 followed.
Lenny tells us she learned to play piano from the age of 4 with classical music. She then played covers to learn song structure before writing her own songs.
Faster than sound was written having learned about the years of oppression in the Czech Republic under Russian rule from her grandmother. This was another solo on the new piano.
She covered I’ve got the music in me showing just how good the ROLAND RD-64 is in the hands of a great player. ‘Have you got the music in you’ She asked the Little Rabbit Barn audience? Of course we have…..
Letter to you was next as requested, remembering good times playing the Cornbury music festival. Andrew is back with guitar now.
After releasing her first single Oh My Love and hearing it on the radio, Lenny described the wonderful feeling of ‘getting my music to the people’ before playing this for us.
The new album HEARTS is like a new baby she tells us. Being stuck in the studio recording through the hottest summers days is worth it.
Ghosts, track 10 was next. We didn’t get the confetti pyrotechnics they use with the full band show at the end of that song at festivals, and wondered if J had considered this for the LRB? Not if I have to sweep it up, he won’t…………haha
The title track from the Album HEARTS is in honour of those we have lost on the way.
Pertinent with the recent loss of Tom Petty and other recent tragedies besides our own personal heartaches.
At festivals people wave lights and torches she tells us, and admits it often makes her shed a tear. Holding the wonderful (name mic) free and with Andrew on guitar we are treated to a superb rendition of this.
It’s a shame she forgot to bring her latest CD’s with her but having heard HEARTS I can thoroughly recommend it.
Ironically, the last song is called Hell.o yes that’s how it’s spelt on the album.
Such a shame we did not have time for an encore, but on such a tight schedule it would not have been possible.
If you haven’t seen Lenny live, she needs to be at the top of your list, as watching this performance back as I write is only serving to remind me what a special performer Lenny is and how privileged we were to host her along with Andrew on this special night.
After a quick stage turnaround, the second headline artist tonight and four years since her last appearance at LRB is Jess Klein.
LEARNING FAITH is the latest of eight albums from Jess Klein that I found on Tidal.
Jess opened solo on guitar with Don’t let me put my suitcase down (I think that’s the title)
Terry requested the next song Riverview from the album BEHIND A VEIL from 2013
Jess tells us she got married a year and a half go and she is going to bring him up on stage to play soon, not just to show him off. He is a musician, laughs here……
My own beating heart is the tale of her thoughts leading up to the decision to get married.
Mike June now comes to the stage to share the bill and his first number impressed from the start. I ain’t never going back to St Antoine a lovely slow ballad where Jess joined on backing vocals beautifully. That was nice!
The next song was written before the recent political changes in the USA but seems appropriate. “Make America Great Again for who”? That’s the question says Mike. Jess again on backing vocals for Cotton-fields from POOR MAN’S BIBLE.
Mike tells of their travels around the world playing in places large and small and advises that although things may seem bad as portrayed through the media most people out there are great and the current insanity is temporary.
It was a shame the new album is stuck in customs but Alright is the song and you can find it on streaming services.
At this point we had a departure from the norm with Jess reading a poem inspired by the desecration of her grandmother’s grave. Chicken Soup
She learned about this on international women’s day and felt this reading was the best positive response to those who act from ignorance.
This was a very moving moment for her and us that was followed by Shonalee from the STRAWBERRY LOVER album with Mike dune playing some lovely delicate solo accompaniment.
That was the sort of special pin drop moment that makes all the work putting these gigs on worthwhile.
Little White Dove closed the set without time for an encore again to raptures of applause well deserved.
You only get these experiences at live gigs which is what makes these occasions so special.
Time for food and the raffle which always seems to have interesting and imaginative prizes courtesy of Lyn.
This was the time for a major stage refit whilst people enjoyed the excellent food.
Apologies if you were stuck in the loo queue as our next act started.
With a complete change of mood we welcomed Kara Grainger with her UK touring band John Cox, Bass Guitar. John Glassop, Keyboards and Pat Levett, Drums to the stage to play some blues.
Kara played acoustic slide and a Gibson Gold Top through the show.
The support band ditched Tom Jones to be here joked J on the introduction, to big laughs..
Opening with the first blues song she ever wrote followed by I’m Holding on from L.A.BLUES. Kara showed her talents to play and sing.
Voodoo Woman next with the Gold Top for a more funky feel and a bit of Wah Wah pedal, this was a real foot tapper.
John Glassop played some amazing organ solos here and throughout the set.
I Dreamed I was the Devil was next, a song Kara’s friend wrote about pulling off a heist; getting away with it and driving into the dessert. More Way Wah pedal on the solo.
After asking; Kara found that people came from far and wide for this gig. This is only her second UK tour so she doesn’t know the geography well. She chatted with the audience about Lowestoft, Seal watching and Pebble Dash housing during a tune up. The UK must seem a strange place to her….
They launched into the classic Dust My Broom now. I knew this would sound good having heard it at the soundcheck. Very reminiscent of the Peter Green/Jeremy Spencer 60’s Fleetwood Mac sound. There is a band who would have totally rocked the LRB! In my dreams… lol
More lovely slide guitar to introduce C’mon into my Kitchen. Again from L.A. BLUES.
The band appreciated being well looked after at the ‘cosy Little Rabbit Barn’ before playing Lost in you. A song with a strong John Mayer feel to it. Track 3 from the SHIVER AND SIGH album, and a beautiful warm solo on the Gold Top.
Stan ‘the man’ brought water to the stage at this point. His moment of stardom before a brand new song, the LRB being only the second audience to hear it. I can’t seem to let you go.
For those that don’t know, Stan is in charge of guest lists and merchandise, a valuable member of the LRB team.
Time for a little J.J. Cale as we approach curfew I’ll make love to you anytime from the J.J. CALE 5 album 1979.
Working my way back home followed as Kara introduced the band with the obligatory solo’s from each member. That brought on a huge applause from the audience with just enough time for thank you’s and an encore before our ‘witching hour’ of 11pm.
Wow! It’s just all over so quickly but time flies when your having fun.
Editor: Thanks to the wonderful performing artists, Lenny, Jess Klein, Mike June and Kara Grainger and all the musicians/side players Andrew, John Cox, John Glassop, Pat Levett for such a superb evening. Everyone involved with the production: Simon Allen sound engineer ; The fabulous little rabbit team of Chris Kyan on video cameras and setup, Stan and Fran, guest list; Brian and Nigel, Bar; Chris and Helen, raffle;
To our guests, big thanks for supporting live music and hope to see everyone next time
Special Note: We are aware that in striving to put on a full band in the barn we are very much reliant on the band to play at a sound level that is comfortable for the audience, in particular those sitting in the front half dozen rows! I am aware that the last two bands we have hosted have pushed the sound level to the limit. It’s not the level of the PA but the sound level generated from the stage and in particular the drums. It was noticeable that the drummer with Kara played louder than in sound check consequently pushing up the overall sound level. We will continue to request that any bands we host are mindful of the space and in future ask that hot rods rather than sticks are used on the drums. We know that we are able to have full bands playing at a comfortable sound level from the many we have hosted previously.
We very much strive to get everything within our control right so that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Some things are out of our control and we are reliant on other people.
We will source some disposal ear plugs that will be available complimentary at the merch table for anyone to use should they so wish.
Finally I would like to say it is a huge privilege to host such a high quality line up with three genuine headline artists, thanks for all the appreciation received and the lovely comments from both artists and guests.
OUR END OF YEAR SHOW Features SEAN TAYLOR | ELLES BAILEY and special guest ANGEL SNOW. It is our fastest filling evening ever!
I hope that is a good sign!!
See you soon
Best, Jonathan and Lyn, Terry
Photo credits, video and thanks: Andy Sheard, Chris Kyan, David Filce