1 March 2012

Surprise gig at the Edgar Hall

From M&B's art correspondant.
This evening's concert at Somerton's premier music venue, the Edgar Haul, was a surprising affair which, in the final analysis, didn't quite live up to expectations.

The world famous 'Somerton Weeping Strings' made a surprise appearance with locally renowned harpy, Tina Raybould, making a rather inept rendition of 'My lies don't make you love me'. Tina deserves a better reputation than she has and some blamed her fellow band-members. There is no doubt that a change of personnel might help the public see her in a better light. She also needs a page-turner to help her in the more complicated passages.  Little known but long-time folk vocalist Pat 'no rules' Mountain, fresh from a tour of West Indian dives, came on strong with a radical reading of '47 years in this old town' which he followed up with his signature piece, 'ain't no law near me'. Pat, who was once some sort of politician, has clearly fallen out of love with democracy and prefers howlin' at the moon.  Another new talent to showcase their skills was silver haired Paul 'tick tock' Audemars, immaculately dressed and a real master of the dividers and set-square. Many people commented on his silky touch with these instruments which are notoriously difficult to master.

An  act which promised much but, ultimately disappointed was Paddy 'the chair' Keenan who did a turn on the barrel-organ but the audience clearly thought that the monkey was doing all the work. Also taking part but looking rather older than his publicity photos was the reclusive maestro Chris Edgar who went for it with a rather tired rendition of 'You're a Liar', followed up with a rather weak version of 'He done me wrong'. Chris is another musician who needs more conviction. The audience didn't seem convinced but you had to admire the man's enthusiasm. At Edgar's side was another local institution, none other than old shiny head himself, Vic 'big numbers' Medley who brought his own brand of surrealism to the washboard. Counting time has never been Vic's strongest suite and we were all left wondering if he is just a bit past his sell-by date.

Its sad to report that the Edgar Hall gig saw the sun setting on one of those who was once one of its brightest stars, Rodney Briggs. Rodney has had a tough time over the last few years and he has clearly let his talents wither. His vocal control has lost the mesmeric quality that it once had and many commented on the fact that his material is just tired. We've heard it all before. It was sad to see some-one, once sharp and sparkling, brought so low.

Sadly absent from the performances was Italian contemporary master, El Canvino. Canvino was expected to debut his latest piece titled 'iL Covenanto' which it is rumoured to have been created for massed earth-movers and solo tractor but it was not performed. 

All in all, it was a bit of a disappointment and it was clear that the performers themselves were a pretty dispirited bunch. The honesty just wasn't there. It looked like they were sleep-walking through the wrong score, like they were stumbling into the street after one too many drinks. The problem is, as with all artistes, that they just won't hear the truth. They won't look in the mirror and face the fact that their problems are of their own making. They want to blame everyone else for their lacklustre performances when the truth is that they need to do their homework. They need to practice. They need to rediscover their inner truth. People just won't go on paying to hear the same old rubbish.