pOxymorn, Mark Stevenson, Claire Perkins
The Royal British Legion, Ledbury 8pm Saturday 23rd January 2016
I had a choice of gigs tonight, either a trip to Ledbury into the unknown or a trip to the Boars Head in Kidderminster, a great Punk venue to see Vomit and Rotunda, – “the known” (to me anyway).
“The whole set was like being in a Frank Zappa inspired, 50’s New Orleans Speakeasy joint on the set of an old French Arthouse film, with a bit of Crass mixed in for good measure. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.” -Rich Lovell
I took the leap into the unknown…Ledbury because, well why not really. As I walked in just 10 minutes after the start time, I was greeted by the sight of Jim Dening reciting some focused, but angry poetry – whilst pOxymoron played – a bit jazz, a bit 50s US rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. So the headliners are on first? Well, yes, and last.
Just from the back end of the piece I arrived to, David Cameron doesn’t have a fan in Jim Dening – it was some rant. I found my seat just as they finished their first set and settled down to my drink as Claire Perkins tuned up.
I have to admit – I have seen Claire play a few times now, but I still can’t say I am overly familiar with her material, mainly because she writes so much, that it’s not often you hear the same song more than twice. Sure there were a few sound problems, but Claire just shrugged and got on with it, playing through ‘Carrion Crow’, ‘Lean into It and Shut Up’ and ‘Avenue’. Her style is to strum her acoustic guitar while she expresses her thoughts, her voice is a bit Alanis Morisette in places but very natural. Knowing what an energetic, enthusiastic character Claire is, it’s great to watch her control and channel her energy through her material – contrast it to her manic performances as singer for Metal groovers A Hundred Suns. Nice one Claire.
A quick turn around and Mark Stevenson took his place at the mic. Traditional folk doesn’t really do much for me, I like lyrics that are relevant to me today, whereas most trad folk is based around life from a few centuries ago. That said, however, this genre always attracts talented musicians, and Mark is very talented. Going through a set of his poetry, own compositions and some old faor like ‘Copper Kettle’ playing with what we decided looked like a Bodrum, a flute and variations of other woodwind instruments, I was drawn in and accepted that maybe, just maybe, traditional folk is as much about the music and musicianship than the meaning of the lyrics. I’ll certainly not shy away from seeing Mark Stevenson perform again – was that me admitting I can be wrong? Blimey…..
The night was finished off with another set from pOxymoron. A fascinating band, they play along to spoken poetry, political & social comment, and as I said earlier, the jazzy, rock n roll very bare sound just added to the experience. No drums, just two guitarists (Nick Alexander and Mike Ruddick), a bassist and a keyboard/ accordion player. Jim Denny and Nick Alexander took turns as the frontman with their commentary. All this whilst images, photos, were projected on the wall next to the stage area adding some interpretation (and to a bear of little brain like me) and sometimes not, well not that I could work out anyway.
The whole set was like being in a Frank Zappa inspired, 50’s New Orleans Speakeasy joint on the set of an old French Arthouse film, with a bit of Crass mixed in for good measure. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
So the “Unknown” of Ledbury was the right choice in the end, although I did sneak a bit of Angelic Upstarts on the player on the drive back to Hereford – old Punks eh?
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY RICH LOVELL, Music Director/Reviewer – Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution, Frontman – Punk Band Terminal Rage