Simon Campbell and Suzy Starlite ~ Live
Bluesdoodles 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 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 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 a 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.
This 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.