It had been a heck of a week but as the Convent Club is but a hop skip and a jump away and there were two tickets with our names on, off we went despite our lethargy, and how glad we were that we did.
Scotch in hand and propped up in the side pews of the stunning Chapel venue at the Convent we had an evening of two remarkable voices – the main talent Adam Holmes and his band the Embers, and to open the proceedings, a short set from Paul Gilbody (more of him anon).
Mr Holmes has quite a voice for one still so stubbornly young. It of course has the Caledonian twang I find so irresistible, a bit of gravel in there that suggests more disappointments than he can have yet experienced, and a little whiff of soul for good measure.
The set had a good smattering of tracks from his debut album from earlier this year, Heirs and Graces, but one or two penned by others, such as the beautifully delivered Loretta written by Townes van Zandt, both an influence and a hero one suspects.
The Embers are no slouches either, including fine work by Paul Gilbody on guitar and Alex Hunter on bass. But live, as on the album (produced by the inestimable John Wood of John Martyn and Nick Drake fame) it is the voice that is the star and rightly takes centre stage.
It was another equally impressive voice that kicked the evening off. Paul Gilbody, who’s pedigree working with other such as Alex Cornish, is impressive, but tonight we had four songs from him: Untwined, Sisyphus, Best Friend and Magnets Have Souls. I would have enjoyed a longer set but hey ho another name to add to the ‘watch’ list and hope an EP pops out sooner rather than later.
It is only right to mention the Chapel at The Convent as an outstanding venue; not just the gothic surroundings but the exceptional sound and care used in producing evenings like this and their streamed counterparts. Hats off to Matt and Charlotte for providing us such (as yet slightly under-recognised) opportunities.
But it was an evening for the voice, that most emotional of instruments and two fine exponents, here’s hoping they remember where to find us now and come back again soon