Saturday, 5 January 2013

Live Review - Fresh Local Talent Showcase

Where: Raven Hotel Corby
When : Friday 4th January 2013

Organised by leading singer songwriter and promoter, Northampton-based Hannah Faulkner, this event perfectly highlighted the wealth of young and emerging acoustic talent that this county has to offer.

Hannah Faulkner
 And it was Hannah herself who opened proceedings with her very own version of the classic Wham! seasonal favourite, Last Christmas. In just over 3 minutes she proved exactly how she has earned her stripes and shows how it should be done as she came sprinting out of the blocks and effortlessly put in a confident and flawless performance. Playing to her undoubted strengths, Hannah let the song do the work and allowed her trademark powerful, soulful vocals take centre stage setting the bar high for those that followed...
★★★★☆  (4.5 out of 5)

First up was Josh Bateman...

Josh Bateman
And for those of you old enough to have heard of Scott Walker, Josh's vocal performance and delivery is very much in that mould. Quite theatrical and haunting. I was also reminded of Bryan Ferry and hints of Morrissey in this splendid laid back set. Delivering an excellent down tempo version of the classic Frankie Valli (or Andy Williams if you prefer!) song "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and an irrestible, clever re-working of Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love". If I was being critical I would say that the performance lacked a little confidence but it didn't tarnish my enjoyment. Overall a good solid performance.
★★★☆ (3.5)

                                        Will Rogers...

Will Rogers
Up beat from the very first down stroke, Will performed his first song, the self-penned "More", with the energy of a runaway train. Will made excellent use of his loopstation, integrating it seemlessly allowing him to create layer upon layer of vocal harmonies and counter melodies. No more so than on a spellbinding, acapella version of "Wayfaring Stranger". Will's likeable, breezy personality shone throughout this well balanced, well executed set. Despite the occasional prolonged silence between songs this was a very solid, polished performance.
★ ★ ★ ★

                                          You Me Us...

You Me Us

Comprising of singer songwriters Jasmine Burns and Morton Piercewright, this duo delivered their unique blend of folk and pop with grace and humour. Jasmine's heavy, gospel tinged folk vocals, more Kate Bush than Katy Perry, are both challenging and seductive in equal measures, the perfect foil to Morton's more upbeat delivery. This fledgling partnership have great on stage chemistry and a challenging musical style which is original enough to set them apart from alot of other acts on the circuit. A refreshing change from the endless gamut of Ed Sheeran clones! Although they were obviously nervous, they made a good recovery and put in a well received and enjoyable performance. Personally I would like to have heard a couple more up-tempo numbers but that's just me!
★★★☆ (3.5)

                                        Jen Dobson

Jen Dobson

A talented singer-songwriter takes to the stage and announces her arrival with a musical "punch in the air". Jen plays every chord and sings every refrain with the conviction that this moment is all that matters. Every verse is delivered with an understated confidence. It is this confidence that gives her the ability to own the stage. A great performance with no gimmicks. Proof that it pays to simply let the music do the talking.
Star quality.
★★★★☆ (4.5)

                                         George Baines

George Baines

A different class of performer. Stylish and skillful and without doubt, the most accomplished guitar player of the evening. George is definitely a guitarist who sings rather than a singer who plays guitar and this is more than evident in his slick chops and chord voicings. George's voice is soulful and gentle but he has the ability with the delivery of one exclaimed word to make you sit up and take notice. Listening to the performance I thought it was polished and professional and could easily imagine it on a larger stage. Visually quirky and restrained George performed with bravado without being brash. Dignified and classy.
★★★★☆ (4.5)


Brett Revell (guitar) and Laurence Holt (vocals), aka Frettlyst, round off the evening with a selection of cover versions. Proof that you don't always HAVE to perform original material to make a valid contribution and these guys proved that they are more than capable. They managed to generate a party atmosphere in an emptying room which is no mean feat. All in all it did exactly what it said on the tin. Good songs for a good time and the perfect end to a great evening. Polished and professional.

Congratulations to all the performers on the bill this evening. You did yourselves proud and I look forward to seeing (and hearing) you all again soon.


Photography by James Ruane at James Ruane Design & Photography

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