The David Hall’s Acoustic Night on 23 July 2016 gathered some impressive local performers who straddled the worlds of folk, roots, country and classical music. All of the acts provided seemingly effortless performances in the intimate setting of South Petherton’s finest entertainment venue.
The evening began with freshness and precision delivered by the classical ensemble, South Country. Led by pianist and composer, Thomas Gold, the quartet launched straight into an evocative blend of soaring violins, stirring accordion and multi-textured keyboards. The appreciative audience received the performers warmly, and the Acoustic Night was off to a great start.
A thematic thread of yearning and reflection ran through the evening. The importance of seizing the day and regretting nothing was presented by the duo ‘Old Hands’ when they asked poignantly, ‘If not now, then when?’ Chico conveyed a grounded self-assurance on stage and at one point invited the audience to join the chorus of his tune about time and wanderlust, ‘Look at how the time it flies, speeding your life away, look at how the time it flies, speeding to your dying day.’ The hugely talented Jim Watts, with his rich and smooth vocals, performed the Stapleton and Henderson lyrics masterfully, ‘In my day I sure was something, before I felt the heavy hand of time.’ The message was clear – carpe diem, quam minimum credula poster (for the Latin musos)!
Mike Rawlinson delighted the audience with conversational lyrics that trod a fine balance between hysterical and heartbreaking. He opened up with an upbeat song that explored multiple options for 21st century ‘involuntary suicide’ including our health service, ‘the newly privatised NHS – if the superbugs don’t get you, then the catering will’, our local transport system, ‘take the golden opportunity, try overtaking on the A303!’ , and our environment (referring to Hinkley Point), ‘breathe in the air ’til you start to glow, you’ve got you’re own radioactive suicide!’. The final song was a masterful reworking of Keith Richards’ ‘Honky Tonk Women’ with a distinctly Somerset flavour. In his county-specific version, Rawlinson managed to mention a multitude of local references, including cider, skittles and even… Norton-Sub-Hamdon.
At the end of the night the band ‘Jacob’ arrived on stage and launched into a unique and dynamic combination of Zydeco, country and reggae. Throughout their set the enigmatic lead singer delivered a compelling and brooding performance, whilst the accordion and electric guitar provided a wealth of interwoven textures. All of the pieces, including J.J. Cale’s ‘Call Me the Breeze’, were interpreted and performed with a wayward spirit by this distinctive and authentic band. Jacob is one of the most impressive acts around.
For an entry fee of just £2, the monthly Acoustic Nights at The David Hall must be one of the best value events in the South West. The wide range of acts performing, from first timers to experienced artists – all of whom are keenly supported by the audience – provide a superb night of entertainment in a beautiful listed building in the heart of South Petherton.
The next Acoustic Nights in 2016 are on:
- Friday 19th August
- Sunday 25th September
- Friday 28th October
- Sunday 20th November
- Sunday 18th December.
Musicians, poets, comedians, dancers, jugglers, magicians and storytellers are all welcome!
These evenings are not to be missed – by performers or by audience members.