The crowd really took Adrian to their hearts, when midway through his second set he called Andy and Moray on stage to perform a song he’d written called ‘Hold Your Light High’.
The show featured at the Witham on Saturday 16th September was headlined by Adrian Nation with special guests, Andy Yeadon and Moray Nellis. The show was the first promotion, (I hope of many) at the venue by Chilli Enterprises. The Witham is an ideal venue for the fare served up on the night. It’s cosy, intimate and friendly. As you’d expect from a recently refurbished building, the facilities are very good. I particularly liked being able to sit in the warm cafe area, enjoying a coffee, waiting for the doors to open, rather than being made to queue in the cold outside.
The show was compered by Mr Chilli Enterprises himself - Dave Palmer, who welcomed everyone and brought to the stage the special guests, the aforementioned Andy Yeadon and Moray Nellis. Most people reading this will know of Andy and his music, as in respect of the local music scene, he’s a bit of a Barney legend in his own lifetime. Performing with Andy was Moray Nellis, the daughter of Jimmy Nellis, a music legend of yesteryear in the Sunderland area. So, excellent credentials, but would it work?! It certainly did! I was fortunate to have a look at the set list before the show started and was pleased to see it crammed with great, self-penned songs of Andy’s that I’m familiar with. Songs such as ‘Love takes you everywhere’, ‘Right all along’, Standing here’ etc.
The only slight reservation I had, was would the songs survive the transition from being played in a standard electric rock group format, to that of a single guitar accompaniment? I needn’t have worried. The songs were delivered in such a way that nothing was lost. Having only heard Andy playing electric guitar, his acoustic guitar playing was a revelation to me. I would have liked to have heard more of Moray taking a lead vocal or two, but that’s a minor carp.
Next on, came top of the bill, Adrian Nation. Other than knowing of his reputation as being an excellent singer / songwriter and having immense prowess as a guitar player, Adrian and his music was fairly new to me. However, as soon as he started playing the intro of his first song, ‘The Coming of The Day’, I knew we were in for something special. He sounded like a one man band – there was bass, percussion and amazing finger- picking guitar, topped off by a good, strong singing voice, all in the mix. Armed with an array of five different guitars and exhibiting a mastery of effects, he captivated the appreciative crowd. As if that wasn’t enough, he proved to be an interesting raconteur. During the announcement of what he was going to sing next, he made a point of getting across to the audience, how his songs had came into being and which characters and places had inspired him to write that particular song, Some of the songs were about members of his family and friends, others such as ‘Dying of Democracy’ (from his forthcoming album Anarchy and Love) were more focused upon political issues. A lot of his songs, whether personal or political were powerful statements - some wistful, some strong and energetic. I would think that just as with good poetry, to fully realise the full impact of the message / story of Adrian’s songs, more than one ‘play’ is necessary. I’m sure that those people in the audience who took home with them a CD of Adrian’s work, will, in the days ahead, appreciate his work even more.
The crowd really took him to their hearts, when midway through his second spot he called Andy and Moray to join him on stage to perform a song he’d written called ‘Hold Your Light High’.
Adrian concluded a great show with a moving rendition of a song of his called ‘Set Fire to the Sky’. On his set list, he had as his final number, a cover of a well known Richard Thompson song, a favourite of mine, ‘Vincent Black Lightning’. I take it that he didn’t deliver this one due to time constraints. No matter, he’d put on an excellent performance, that I for one, will hope to see repeated at the Witham in the not too distant future (and then maybe I’ll get to hear his version of ‘Vincent Black Lightning’!)
The management of the Witham and Chilli Enterprises should be congratulated, for putting on the show and I would hope that this show is only the first of many such joint promotions.