With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Show Of Hands – Royal Hall, Harrogate – Thursday 31st October 2019 November 3, 2019

This was my first visit to the beautifully and tastefully renovated Royal Hall in Harrogate. It was also the second time that I have seen Show Of Hands live, but sadly the first since 2009! I promise I won’t leave it that long next time. My knowledge of folk and roots music is not vast but I do know a great band when I see one and Show Of Hands are undoubtedly a truly brilliant band. They are “not too folkie”, they are multi-talented musicians with an intelligent way with lyrics and their self deprecating humour and between-song banter is first class. The core band consists of Steve Knightley and Phil Beer and was formed in Devon more than thirty years ago. Folk singer and double bass virtuoso Miranda Sykes has been playing with Show Of Hands for more than fifteen years. In addition to that dynamic trio, they are now accompanied by an amazing and award-winning bodhrán player and percussionist for the current shows; Irishman Cormac Byrne.

There was no support act, rather inventively we were treated to a series of duo performances; Phil & Steve, Steve & Cormac, Miranda & Steve, Phil & Miranda, Cormac & Phil, and Miranda & Cormac! The sparseness of the music in these settings was beautiful. This is a group of musicians who really know how to use the space between the notes. Phil Beer’s guitar skills are extraordinary and he can move from straightforward folk to some rocking acoustic blues. Steve’s voice is close to perfect and his passion is evident in the way he sings. Some of the new songs, from their 2019 album, are a strong addition to an already magnificent set. Especially “Dreckley”, which is a Cornish word for later in the manner of mañana but not as urgent, and “Battlefield Dance Floor” which is about how soldiers used to party the night before a big battle. For me, the most beautiful song of the evening was the inspirational and empathetic “You’ll Get By”. That will be on my playlist the next time I get really down or depressed, it will provide a gorgeous spiritual lift. The cover of the late, great Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan” was true to the Canadian raconteur and was among the most well-received of the evening. My favourite song on the night was probably “Santiago”. There were sing-alongs aplenty, the most rousing was probably the Show Of Hands classic “Cousin Jack”. All in all, this was a great musical evening and worked incredibly well even for a generally non-folkie like me. If you love good music you really need to check this band out if you haven’t done so already! There are still plenty of shows left on their Now We Are Four Tour 2019 (see the poster above), go and treat yourself!

All the photos were found via Google searches. The videos were all found on YouTube. If any of the pictures or videos are yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove them please let me know. 

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Show Of Hands at Saltaire 17th April 2009 April 20, 2009

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello peeps, long time no post, well ok some of you probably didn’t notice, oh well! Anyway I have returned to post a review of a gig I was at on Friday evening. Those of you who know me are well aware that my musical taste is seriously eclectic (everything except most opera and a lot of country). I’ve never seen myself as a folkie either, although I am a big fan of Mr Zimmerman.

Let me cut to the chase I got a ticket for the gig as a 50th birthday present from Rachel V. She and Catwoman are big fans of the band. The band are ‘Show Of Hands’ and I must admit they are excellent in a live environment. Terrific musicians, great harmonies, good songs (some superb covers too), much self deprecating humour and in great danger of giving folk a good name to non-folkies like me.

Show Of Hands with Miranda, she's the clean shaven one!

Show Of Hands with Miranda, she's the clean shaven one! Incidentally Catwoman loves your hair Miranda!

The band is made up of Steve Knightley and Phil Beer. They were ably assisted by Miranda Sykes on Saturday on double bass and beautiful vocals. There was no support act, in fact this is a band that doesn’t really need one, they’re that good, trust me! Check out the ‘Show Of Hands‘ website. Miranda also has her own website, click here to check it out

On the 'face' of it the boys were considering a more 'rock' direction ;-)

On the 'face' of it the boys were considering a more 'rock' direction 😉

The gig was at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire near Bradford in the UK, which incidentally is an excellent venue. The acoustics are supreme, the band played a couple of songs literally unplugged from their amps and the sound was incredible.

I’m very new to Show Of Hands so I don’t know much about their back catalogue. But for me there were a number of highlights on Saturday. In particular a new song called “AIG” which is based on the comments of a US senator about the finance company AIG, if I remember rightly this fabulous songs chorus included the refrain ‘Arrogance, Incompetence and Greed’ (apologies to the band if I got that wrong). I also loved their cover of Dylan’s “Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)”, I would even go so far as to say that I preferred it to the original. The lyrics are printed at the end of the post as they are some of Dylan’s best, well I think they are! The band seem to have quite a large repertoire of their own songs and my favourite of those that they played on Saturday was “Cousin Jack”. They generated an awful lot of audience participation for that one from the fervent sell out crowd. Click here to see the band in the video for the rather excellent song “Roots” which they also played at the show

The boys were so talented they could play their instruments telepathically

The boys were so talented they could play their instruments telepathically

They are scheduled to play a lot more UK dates between now and early July so if they are in a town near you and you haven’t seen them just do it, you will not be disappointed! If you’ve seen them before you can ignore the last sentence as you’ve already got your tickets I’m sure

Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) – Bob Dylan

Senor, senor, can you tell me where we’re headin ?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon ?
Seems like I been down this way before
Is there any truth in that, senor ?

Senor, senor, do you know where she is hidin’ ?
How long are we gonna be riding ?
How long must I keep my eyes glued to the door ?
Will there be any comfort there senor ?

There’s a wicked wind still blowing on that upper deck
There’s an iron cross still hanging down from around her neck
There’s a marching band still playing in that vacant lot
Where’s she held me in her arms one time and said, Forget me not.

Senor, senor, I can see that painted wagon
Smell the tail of the dragon
Can’t stand the suspense anymore
Can you tell me who to contact here, senor ?

Well, the last thing I remember before I stripped and kneeled
Was that trainload of fools bogged down in a magnetic field
A gypsy with a broken flag and a flashing ring
He said, Son, this ain’t a dream no more it’s the real thing.

Senor, senor, you know their hearts is as hard as leather
Well, give me a minute, let me get it together
I just gotta pick myself up off the floor
I’m ready when you are, senor.

Senor, senor, let’s overturn these cables
Disconnect these tables
This place don’t make sense to me no more
Can you tell me what we’re waiting for, senor ?


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