Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live @ The Convent

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0027l

Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite
@The Convent 25th September 2015



Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0049lBluesdoodles is back for the second time in a week to this unique and very special venue, the welcome and warmth from the moment you step in to The Convent, through to the show where the sound has a depth that you would not expect from an old chapel sound that resonates with echoes of the stone and vaulted ceilings. Tonight in Stroud and across the world via Netgig we have Simon Campbell & Suzy Starlite a duo who create music with a wealth of skill on guitar and bass, and joining them on the stage was Danilo Adriano Argenti Gener completing the rhythm section on drums and Christian Madden on Hammond and Grand Piano filling in the sound so that the audiences were drawn in to every varied rack offered tonight.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0067lSimon is definitely upfront with guitar playing that ranges from controlled blues, melodic acoustic, Rock n’ Roll energy and the exploration of the strings in the style of Prog Rock, in his white suit and straw hat he grasped your attention; and, more importantly, it was retained throughout the gig. He would not have the freedom to explore his music if he did not have a rhythm section that was that rare combination solid but not staid, the drumming from Danilo was inspiring sometimes showing that it can be more effective to do less with well-timed drum beats augmenting the full sound being delivered by the guitar keyboard combination. Danilo’s little half-shuffles and the use of sticks, standard, percussive mallets and brushes often with more than one type of stick in one hand there is a tonal texture and subtlety not normally heard from the back. Supporting Danilo in creating a rhythm section with hidden depths is Suzy Starlite whose bass playing engaged and was the perfect foil for the enthusiastic playing from Simon; it is amazing that she has being playing Bass for just eighteen months as she has a natural feel for creating the bass tone that compliments the tracks that varied across the set. The keys from Christian were sublime from full organ crescendos through to gentle notes he wrapped the third layer of chords around Simon’s guitar adding shape and texture to the lyrics as the story unfolded. This was a quartet that wanted to talk to you through their eclectic mix of tones on tracks including a collection from their current album The Knife, including the title track, Dreamer and Affairs of the Heart re-affirming the quality of the songs included. We also had an early listening opportunity for their anticipated forthcoming album The Coat; the title track saw Suzy leaving the bass and sitting behind the majestic Grand Piano, her vocal prowess had already been confirmed with some stylish Harmonising with Simon and she now sung a song very special to her and for everyone who has lost someone important or they are not there and was dedicated to her mother who has early onset-Alzheimer’s an thought-provoking and emotionally stirring number. The last song of the night Hello, which is also on the forthcoming album, had five distinct movement and, is definitely more Prog Rock than blues but worked so well with Suzy’s vocals, clever guitar solos. Each movement had its own distinctive shape and tonal character and for me full of interest and the pick of the set for me.

Simon Campbell andn Suzie Starlite - The Convent - Sept 2015_0062lThis was an exciting, intriguing at times challenging set stretching across all the styles of recorded modern music and it worked, they are certainly worth checking out as they will surprise and the musicianship is spot-on. Listen to what you missed from Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite via The Convents Netgig; Bluesdoodles will and we were there on the night…

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Kara Grainger: Live @ The Convent Club

Kara Grainger: Live @ The Convent Club
3rd May 2015


Well the process was easy, bought my ticket, received confirmation, followed the link at the allotted time and simple command play and video starts to stream and you can sit back join in the pre-gig wait enjoying the background music and you do feel some of the anticipation. The backdrop of The Convent Club is as stunning in your own home you just miss out on the panoramic view as your gaze moves around the venue and the interaction with other members of the audience waiting to hear Kara Grainger tonight. Lots of activity so you know live stream, Matt co-owner of the convent came on and chatted to the audience, disappointingly could not hear the intro as background music continued, let’s hope we can hear Kara and the band loud and clear as I am reviewing this in real-time another Bluesdoodles first! Then Matt came back on stage and introduced the live music welcoming the audience and everyone live streaming the gig in their own homes.

Tonight, with Kara is Paddy Milner keys (electric and Grand Piano), joining her for one night only U.K. tour; and Jules Fothergill on electric guitars along with Damon Sawyer on drums and bassist Andy Tolman completing the rhythm section.

Kara with acoustic slide guitar opens the show with Mercury Blues with a Paddy Milner solo, then in the second number Jules plays electric blues acting as a dirty counterpoint to Kara then Paddy joins the party and we have a blues picnic in as she sings Come On Into Our Kitchen. Her charisma and warm smile shone through the screen and we did not feel distant from the performance it felt live and you just wanted to sit back and relax and enjoy the company of top-notch musicians in your own home. When Kara picked up her electric with had a harmonious duo of riffs and licks that gave a depth of musical tone that made the lyrics shine through.

Lost in You from latest album; Shiver and Sigh, her vocals soft and sultry as she portrayed what it feels like when a person is so all-encompassing nothing else in the world exists. Her guitar playing is smooth and stylish and then Jules adds a layer of sound with Paddy’s stellar skills on the keyboard that he nonchalantly balances on top of the grand piano. The sound is funky blues that is fun to listen to and the musicians are enjoying the performance.

Then we have some blues, Kara understands the musical idiom that is blues, we heard from her rhythm section for tonight, with drum solo and then some funky bass; then Little Pack of Lies from her album some blistering slide that adds so much colour and distinctive slur that gives every number an energy that reflects the sliding notes. I’m Not Ready, a relatively new song added to Kara’s catalogue. Whipping Post, allowed Jules to showcase the power of his guitar prowess on the Gibson and Paddy’s keys matched his playing with Kara’s vocal stripping back of the vocals to the bone so that I feel like I am dying was full of quivering emotions.
Finishing with slide guitar and the first blues song, she ever wrote, Sky Is Falling, with Paddy now playing the Grand Piano the perfect pitch and tone for this number. No, of course that was not the last, we had the encore the cherry on top of a musically rich iced cake.

Tonight Kara who can play with bravura, poise and desire; but never over complicating the melody, never a cascade if unnecessary notes it is the wordsmith in her that keeps the song firmly at the centre of her performance. This is music that takes the essence of the blues and mixes it with roots and twists in a generous helping of soul and a layer of funk when needed, a sound that is disarmingly complex in its simplicity and is a wondrous act to hear live. Another great blues artist from Australia, she is a guitarist, songwriter and singer certainly entertained tonight whether, at the Convent where you can enjoy a drink in the Dirty Habit Bar or via the live stream, she certainly uplifts an early May weekend, where the skies are grey and summer seems a long way off, she may play the blues but your spirits are lifted by the quality of the musicianship.