Thursday, 25 February 2010

Every Gig I've Ever Seen #53

Martin Harley Band, Peter Parker's Rock n Roll Club, London. 22/2/10

What will music be like when Grandad was a punk, not an RAF pilot? The Book's been written.What is music, now that you can turn it on like water from a tap via the web? Rock, for want of a better word, is dead. Dead from too much karaoke.

The Authentic. That's what the People need. If all the forms are known, all the songs written, then it's the singer's take on the song that makes the difference now. Only connect. The human touch. Not Subo - the Diana Moment in Pop - but real performers playing real songs.

The Martin Harley Band possess the chops and tunes to take an audience with them. It's acoustic, blues-based, with Django-esque jazz tinges. You'll "know" the origins, even if you can't name them.
Great, you say, just what we need, another set of well-worn cliches.

But, a-ha, these guys are great. Harley's an engaging front man with a wonderful slide action and can turn a pretty lyric. The band are tight but loose, real connection between them. This isn't just another singer/songwriter with pick-up band. It's an entity in its own right.

In an age of Lady Ga-Ga and ever increasing plastic Pop it's refreshing to hear and see proper musicians play live. It's the musicianship that makes it. And they make it look so easy. "Automatic Life", "Drumrolls for Somersaults", "Carnival Girls" and a pin-drop acoustic version of "North Lanes". A fine set of songs. 

Harley isn't about to fall into the David Gray trap: enough talent to "make it" but then what? He's old enough to know better. His craft will just get better and better. He'll get bigger but that's not the main event. It's about the music. The sheer joy of making an instrument sing. You can listen along if you like...

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