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.