I haven’t been to the Basement at City Screen for sometime so it was good to be back. Especially as this was a show recommended by my good mate Simon Pattinson. He has never let me down with those recommendations and tonight certainly maintained his 100% record!
First on start was Crispin Halcrow, although he seemed a little nervous at first he finished his set with confidence. I heard something of Teddy Thompson and Seth Lakeman in him. He certainly knows how to write a song, “Charcoal” is beautiful and it is about remembering. Crispin also introduced us to Phoebe the ukulele for a very well performed cover of the Mama’s And Papa’s hit “Dream A Little Dream”. This lad from Kendal is one to watch.
Next under the stage lights was Sam Griffiths ably supported by Bradley Blackwell (I hope I got that name right). He kicked off with a song that he introduced as being a song about a Bob Dylan album, it is called “Blood On The Tracks“. Dylan got another mention later in the set when Sam suggested that he had ripped off the great Mr Zimmerman with a song called “Shelter Of The Storm”. That ripped off reference was very much tongue in cheek and I think the song is superb and given airplay I would say it has big hit written all over it. Sam’s songs are all well-developed and mature. In particular a song inspired by the David Lynch film ‘Lost Highway‘ called “Camera” which was my favourite from Sam’s set.
The first two acts were damned good but Adam French took it to another level completely. The likes of James Bay and Hozier are indeed very talented but I think Adam knocks the socks off them. His songs are incredibly well constructed and given how sublime they sound in a solo setting I believe they would be even better with a band. Adam is a multi instrumentalist utilising guitar, keyboard and bass guitar. “Hunter” was accompanied by Mr French on bass guitar and worked so very well. Will Adam French write a classic song? I think he already has at least two in the haunting “Silhouette” and the gorgeous “Ivory”. I have been going to gigs for more than 40 years and this was probably one of the finest small club sets that I have ever seen. Forget about all that X Factor rubbish, if music has a future then it is in the hands of very talented people like Adam French. I urge you to check him out on-line or live when you get the chance. I sense that his days of playing small intimate gigs like this may well be numbered. He will, I am sure, be coming to you on a much bigger stage very soon. I would also like to add that he is a great bloke too having had a few drinks with him after the show along with his Mum and other friends and family.
Public service announcement! The photos of Crispin, Sam and Bradley were sourced on line and those of Adam were taken on my trusty Nokia phone.