The Delines JHC at Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle.

The Delines
Gosforth Civic Theatre
Newcastle
Monday 28th January 2019

In all of 2018 I only managed to get to six gigs; and this week I plan on going to three; of which seeing the Delines on the back of their second album THE IMPERIAL, was always going to be a highlight of not just January, but my year.
The night got off to a bad start when I arrived to find the venue’s car park decimated and only about 1/6 the size it was in November meaning I had a panicky 10 minutes finding a space in a side street; then desperately trying to memorise the route for later in the evening.
Then I found the lobby packed beyond belief making a much need trip to the toilet something of a battlefield experience, as them pensioners ain’t giving up their private space for nothing or nobody!
Enough of my entry………..
The support act was something of a surprise to me (and the promoter!); as Willy Vlautin had met an old friend, Scottish Folk singer Alisdair Roberts the previous night in Glasgow for the first time in ten years and said, “Hey! Do you know what would be cool? Join us on tour!”
Well; what was a great idea for Willy wasn’t so good for me. I’m sure what Alisdair does is truly excellent in Ye Olde Folk Worlde, but his dour and ‘worthy,’ ‘finger in the ear’ ministrations were anathema to my delicate ears, and after being shushed and tsked from some very reverential music lovers as I whispered to my mate John, I left him and them to go to the bar for a coffee and a bag of crisps.
It appears that there was only a tiny gap between acts; as I missed the Delines first song because I was waiting for a rush to the bar that never materialised!
When I did venture back into the main hall, Amy Boone was just about to go into I Won’t Slip Up; and within seconds I was mesmerised by her presence and majestic voice as she purred the words while she clenched her fists to suppress the dark emotions she was singing about.
My notes say they performed 15 songs in about 90 minutes; with a careful balance between both COLFAX and the latest release The Imperial; and ‘performance’ is the perfect way to describe how each individual song and story is delivered.
While the Cult of Vlautin devotees were salivating at seeing their leader in the flesh; Willy, like me; knows that The Delines is really Amy Boone’s band, which is why the be-suited genius prefers to remain hunched over his Gibson SG in the shadows allowing the singer to shine like a flawed diamond in the spotlight.
While there wasn’t a single thing wrong with the ‘older songs’ like Wichita Ain’t So Far Away or indeed the magical The Oil Rigs at Night, the newer songs seem more fully formed, designed and created specifically for Amy Boone to bring to life like Spring flowers.
Vlautin’s songwriting talent shines through in the imagery he creates in Eddie & Polly and the wonderfully melancholic song about ‘our times’ Holly The Hustle; and I can’t think of anyone this side of Tom Waits or Randy Newman who could take the subject matter of Cheer Up Charlie and turn it into such a darkly beautiful song, as he does and Amy Boone brings to life.
While the songs are often dark and seedy; there are still laughs a’plenty in the intros; with Amy saying they were considering making their first video for ‘Cheer Up Charlie’ but none of them wanted to appear on screen, which led to a chucklesome couple of minutes with Willy deciding Harry Dean Stanton would play him and drummer Sean bagged the Karate Kid!
I don’t remember who Amy wanted; but surely it would have to be Susan Sarandon? No?
Thankfully we have the generic terms ‘Roots and Americana’ because I’m damned if I can think of a category to easily put The Delines into. There’s definitely Country sensibilities of the Gothic persuasion to Don’t Mess Around With Me; but when Amy Boone crooned He Don’t Burn For Me she criss-crossed Jazz, Blues and Soul with effortless grace and when the evening ended with Colfax Avenue followed by the tenderness of Let’s Be Us Again this modern theatre was turned into a late night Gin Joint full of sad-eyed lovers and losers sitting amid over flowing ashtrays and empty glasses as Vlautin and Boone’s words stung their hearts and souls.
Phew!
What a night…….. try as I might I will never understand why bands this talented are playing venues (albeit Sold Out) that hold 4-500 people and patently less talent acts are filling Arenas and Festivals.
But, The Delines can be our special secret!

http://thedelines.com/
http://www.jumpinhot.com/





Clare Bowen Sage Gateshead

clare bowen c

Clare Bowen
Sage Gateshead
Tuesday 4th September 2018

Is she an actress who sings or a singer who acts? That was my dilemma a few weeks ago when I was about to review the star of the Nashville TV series’ Clare Bowen’s debut album release.
Afterwards it was pretty apparent that it was the latter; as the young Australian really can sing, which made us pretty excited when it was announced she would be playing Sage Gateshead in early September.
Because of work commitments I arrived as support act Striking Matches were on stage; so rather than disrupt proceedings we decided to have a relaxing drink in the foyer for once, before making our way into the pretty full Hall 1 us the lights were dimming.
The band entered the stage in the dark and were already playing as a spotlight lit up the far side of the stage and the smiling Clare Bowen, wearing a delightful golden dress and sporting feathers in her hair carefully made her way to the centre and launched into the powerful Where I Belong, which coincidently was the prefect choice to get the party started.
There really was so much to like tonight; Ms Bowen’s voice is quite staggering when heard live…….she can milk the emotion out of every single note on ballads like Ays Song and the song she wrote in the wake of the London Bridge and Manchester Arena attacks, Little By Little; but to me she sounds best when ‘rocking out’ on the Bluesy Let It Rain or Premonition which Mrs Magpie reminded me was from the TV series.
Then there were surprises galore with a couple of sultry duets with husband Brandon, who got to sing his own latest single, which went down very well with the appreciative crowd; and she also sat in awe as guitarist to the stars Colin Linden got his moment in the spotlight.
Highlights came in all shapes and sizes too; especially her stories linking to the songs usually being quite heartfelt, if occasionally a bit Hippyish in context; but that’s no real bad thing as the songs that followed like Lullaby and All The Beds I’ve Made were all the more memorable because of them.
As the show drew to a loud and danceable close, I was surprised to find there had been 20 songs including a medley of Country Classics and had lasted well over an hour and half; which had flown by.
One other thing about tonight; I was reminded a few times why I love live music; as this group of musicians made magic happen before my very eyes, turning random musical notes into moments that will stay in my mind for a long time to come.
This bit may seem odd; baring in mind ‘who’ Clare Bowen is and where she’s come from, but I really do think she has all the qualities, especially a voice to become a Bona-fide Country Star in the near future; and her acting career could well fall by the wayside.

Photo-Set by Harrisonaphotos

https://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Clare-Bowen-at-Sage-Gateshead/i-n93xmLj