by Joanna Orland
The beginning is always a good place to start, and I can’t write this article without mentioning the first opening act of the evening – Among The Oak And The Ash… or ATO&A which is still rather cumbersome, but quicker to type and shall therefore be how I refer to them from now on. (Even though writing that explanation was probably a higher word count than the one other time I’m going to mention their name in this article).
So….. ATO&A are a Country/Folk/Americana band from.. well… America. Consisting of two lead singers, one of each gender, this was a very riveting band. Especially during lady singer’s solo tune. We felt transported to a different era with their western tunes and Nashville inspired vocals. Shame Liam didn’t follow on from them and ride the high, as what happened next kind of ruined the evening for us.
Jose Vanders. That’s pronounced Joce with a soft C and not like Spanish José as she repeatedly reminded us. At first it was ok… she was quirky, young, cute, fresh, pretty voice, but oh my goodness she just did not stop. It was like watching Kate Gash Nash only younger and ditzier if poss. She was sweet, but wow, she was naïve with some very bizarre comments that contained some incorrect geographical/historical facts. Quite a shame over all. By the time Liam came on stage, the soul had been sucked out of us.
We were already a bit under the weather (I blame the poor service the NHS has been giving me lately… including giving me a penicillin related drug they PROMISED wasn’t THAT closely related to penicillin…. Um.. SERIOUS ALLERGY PEOPLE), sorry… RANT! Anyway, we were crashing hard before Liam took the stage and could only last for a few songs as the melancholy of it was a bit too much for us in our fragile states. What we did see, we liked.
Liam’s got a very beautiful voice with some quite heavy and powerful material. The audience was silently gripped as he made his way through his setlist. One thing that I found quite striking, not being overly familiar with Liam’s songs, is that his singing voice has a very thick Mancunian accent to it, heightened further by the audience’s hushed silence as they intently listened to and watched his performance.
A shame we’re a pair of grannies (sorry Marko, but we ARE), would like to have stayed to enjoy the silence.