This is it! The last gig of 2017 and what a showcase of talent. Two artists we know well at LRB, Angel Snow and Sean Taylor, with one new one, Elles Bailey (although LRB have seen her play three times this year already).
Editor: Probably the finest line up of artistic musical talent under one roof on this day anywhere in the UK, maybe beyond. Put another way, there is no gig I would rather have been at and this was hugely anticipated by all…and what’s more it fully delivered on every level. What a terrific finale to our 2017 concert series.
The weather for October could not have been better, which makes all the difference for setting up the show as much as for the fortunate guests here to enjoy it. Oh, and how they were going to enjoy what was our fastest filling and most anticipated gig of the year. That is really saying something when you look back over the amazing shows we have already enjoyed.
Early doors tonight to fit it all in and first up was Angel Snow.
To the strains of Chris Rea over the PA, Angel took to the stage, as J introduced the show promising that “We will be back in the new year”.
Mike Blackmore from the New Town Tavern sponsored this performance and we are very grateful that he was willing and able to do so. Thank you again Mike!
Angel’s new album MAGNETIC unfortunately had been held in customs, something that I believe also happened on her last visit, but she did take orders. Currently I am streaming it on Tidal but can’t wait to receive my signed hard copy.
Coal and Water opened the set from the 2010 album FORTUNE TELLERS with delicate arpeggios played on her beautiful sounding Gibson Acoustic Guitar.
Angel tells us that she wrote this in 2006 during a period of transition in her life, not knowing who to trust.
Magnetic was next, the title track from her new album. Angel’s haunting voice just floated through the Barn for this song, backed with a delicate strum of the Gibson.
She has just released another worldly video for this. Check it out below.
Next, she plays the TAYLOR electric guitar that Joe Wilkins from Elles Bailey’s band helped her get set up before the show. I need you, Track 3 from MAGNETIC. Another haunting melody.
At this point we started to hear fireworks from some distance away as Angel swapped back to the Gibson for the rest of the set.
Angel first played electric guitar live on stage at the LRB when was here a couple of years back, against the advice of her brother. Her ‘Dylan moment’ but nobody objected then or now.
A new song Let you down that Angel wrote this year was next. Track 2 on MAGNETIC.
Medium followed, written from her growing fascination with people who profess to get in touch with the dead, and if it’s not true are prepared to lie to people. Track 5 on MAGNETIC.
The fireworks finally came to Angel’s attention. She thought it was a storm. This led to a quick audience lesson on Guy Fawkes, someone they don’t know much about in the USA.
So now it’s Secret from 2015, “We all have them, don’t we?” She asks. An alternative mix is track 8 on MAGNETIC.
This next song, These Days, was written for her aunt who passed away and always makes her feel emotional when playing it. Grammy award winning singer Alison Krauss covered this on on the deluxe edition of PAPER AIRPLANE. Infact, Angel wrote three songs for this album. These Days, notched up in excess of 6 million streams on Spotify, earning Angel acclaim from American Songwriter.
A few thank yous before the final song which is the closing track on MAGNETIC, Vienna.
Quality is the only way I can describe Angel Snow with her lyrically profound songs sung with a beautiful voice and gentle guitar. “So good, So Lovely” pronounced J.
A quick stage turnaround and now we have a real WILDFIRE, announced J, as Elles Bailey took to the stage with her great band of Matthew Jones on drums, Joe Wilkins on guitar and Zak Ranyard on bass, changing the mood completely.
You know it’s party time as Elles Bailey struts her stuff to Same Flame, and you can see that she is so pleased to be here.
Barrel of your gun Track 4 from WILDFIRE is next. Joe Wilkins played some amazing lead guitar solos here and throughout the set.
Now Elles takes to the piano squashed into the corner of the stage as she tells of how she was going to quit doing music a couple of years ago. It was during that time that she wrote What if I. Her most personal song on the new Album, track 3.
I’m getting goose bumps watching it back to write this review.
A song about heartbreak is next. Times a Healer, “really?” asks Elles. A bonus track on WILDFIRE.
Some lovely acoustic slide guitar from Joe, as Elles just remembers to get back to the piano in time. laughs as she confesses this….
Waiting game, from THE ELBERTON SESSIONS EP, a disc she is justifiably proud of, is next. A song about being locked up whilst innocent. Fantastic!
Elles puts everything into performing these songs.
She tells of writing with fellow Bristolian Roger Cook in Nashville. Roger is a friend of John Prine which turns out to be as good an excuse as any to sing Angel from Montgomery.
Elles tells of her visit to Muscle Shoals, recording studio in Alabama, and the rock and roll history surrounding the area. How musicians came together during the segregation era to create that Muscle Shoals sound.
Musically, this time was a Perfect Storm, track 5 from WILDFIRE. Appreciation for Zak Ranyard on the bass here.
Jacket off now, it’s getting warm up there on stage as we applaud and thank the great band.
Shackles of love next, written with Roger Cook and Bobby Wood. Track 8 on WILDFIRE with more amazing guitar from Joe Wilkins.
Elles tells the story of how she first tentatively approached LRB to play in 2015 only to be told we would have to check her out live first. But after all this time she has finally here. (She asked us if she could come back again at the sound check and she hadn’t even played yet. Lyn’s warmth and hospitality had won her over already)
We have the T Shirt and now we have the song, Howlin’ Wolf as she gets down low on the stage with the LRB crowd clapping along to a bass solo from Zak Ranyard followed by another great slide break from Joe Wilkins
The last number already? ‘ahhhhh’.
WILDFIRE, written with Joe Wilkins. A haunting slide guitar intro from his Fender Jaguar opens this number and fills the middle section. Guitarists and Guitar fans; you’ll love this guy!
We had to have an encore, Elles sitting at the piano where I can keep her in the lens, lol
Girl Who Owned The Blues. A song Elles wrote in tribute to the troubled and short life of Janis Joplin.
This lady has so much movement, commanding the stage, making close filming a challenge, but a nice one, as she struts back and forth giving her all to the music! You just have to experience Elles Bailey and her great band live. (The CDs are great too)
This was performance that is now etched into the fabric of the Little Rabbit Barn. Truly amazing and well worth the standing ovation offered as the band took a theatrical bow.
Time for the break and a major stage re fit as we all enjoyed a chicken curry followed by an orange & chocolate dessert. Well done Lyn and the team, you triumph again!
The raffle was called and we won the new LRB tote bag. These are available along with ladies and gents T Shirts. A perfect gift for the live music starved bunny in your life over Christmas.
The Sean Taylor Trio are probably the only band who could have followed Elles Bailey. Closing out an end of year show for a third time.
Sean takes the stage opening with his interpretation of Heartbreak Hotel. “I didn’t write that, I have to tell you for legal reasons”. Laughs, his dry intelligent humour comes over from the start.
A Good Place To Die followed, track 2 from FLOOD & BURN
Sean tells of how he tours for two-year periods then goes to Austin Texas to record an album. He relates all the great blues players from Texas …… and Beyoncé. He was playing a small stage at Glastonbury whilst she was playing the main stage. He couldn’t get her to turn it down either. This leads nicely to Texas Boogie by way of the Little Rabbit Barn a tribute to all those Texas Blues players. “I came all the way to The Little Rabbit Barn to sing the blues”, sings Sean to ‘whoops’ from the crowd.
Mike Seal, Sean’s old boss joins Sean on stage with his double bass. Mike allowed Sean off work early one day to see a Blues band. The next day when he saw Sean, Sean told him that he had had an epiphany and was going to be a Blues Singer.
Mike Joining Sean on this tour brings the story nicely full circle.
“Would you like to sing a bit?” asks Sean as Mike settles down. Of course, we do… Troubadour Track 4 from FLOOD & BURN had the LRB in fine voice. Marvellous! These guys are enjoying themselves here.
Sean introduces from Italy via Willesden Green; Emanueel Marchetti on percussion.
Then London, track 4 from CHASE THE NIGHT, was sung for all those involved in recent tragedies and that are no longer with us.
Bad Light, track 2 from THE ONLY GOOD ADDICTION IS LOVE followed.
“This next song is known as the optimists Blues for anyone who has had a bad day” says Sean as they settle on the slow delicate groove of Life Goes On. Wow Emanuele really adds some atmosphere to things.
The cruelty of man is next. A tribute to Simon Cowell perhaps; laughs….
“Someone gave me a Jazz chord book with about 600 songs, and chords that only an octopus can play. I took six chords which is more than enough for an album”. Says Sean to laughs as we enjoyed this smooth jazzy number.
Now we have some alternative tuning, DADGAD and a potted history of its invention to harmonise with African musicians, and of the great players who adopted and used it.
Hold on Track 2 from WALK WITH ME was next in this tuning.
“We are contractually obliged to play one love song, I should release kittens into the audience”, says Sean to more big laughs.
Sean tells of how his touring life seems like a perpetual train journey and If the trains are late in the UK they send busses. In France however, they send lunch! Far more civilised.
It’s always great to hear these tales and observations from the road.
“This song is for every woman” says Sean as they launch into a beautiful version of Perfect Candlelight. Track 1 from WALK WITH ME.
So Fine was next. Track 3 from CHASE THE NIGHT, inspired by his early days playing Hard House raves from 3 in the morning.
Sean payed a genuine tribute to the earlier acts before inviting us to sing again to Skip James. First, we had the history of Skip to put things into perspective before Hard Time Killing Floor Blues and getting the now willing LRB crowd to sing along. I’ve said this before, but if you come to the LRB, you’re in the band!
The last song was from his favourite song writer Tom Waits. Who said, “I like beautiful Melodies telling me terrible things”. Taken from ‘The Wire’ TV show, Way Down in The Hole.
A few more thank yous especially to Tom Fairbairn on sound, leads us to a Football Song. Sean tells how he was on Liverpool FC TV playing a psychedelic version of You’ll Never Walk Alone a lovely way to bring an incredible evening to an end.
It’s difficult to convey the atmosphere and quality of an LRB gig in a few words like this, especially from three artists with such varied styles but all at the top of their game. I really hope this blog along with the videos, when they come, will help spark some memories taking you back again to the music.
Editor: Thanks to the wonderful performing artists, SEAN TAYLOR, ELLES BAILEY, ANGEL SNOW, and all the musicians/side players Mike Seal, Emanuele Marchetti, Joe Wilkins, Zak Ranyard, Matthew Jones for such a superb evening. Everyone involved with the production: Tom Fairbairn sound engineer ; The fabulous little rabbit team of Chris Kyan on video cameras and setup, Stan and Fran, Richard and Sally, Brian and Chris, Nigel and Helen, Chris and Karen
Picture credits: Nick Rabett
To our guests, big thanks for supporting live music and hope to see everyone next time in 2018. Jonathan and Lyn, Terry and all at LRB