Sunday, October 22, 2023

“Here today I drift away from carnal thoughts of sin, to the sounds of Little Epic and The Nights are Falling In…”

 The behemoth that is the This Much Talent promotional tour rolls on - The Bury Milkmaid Contemporary Folk Club one night, The Beyton Village Fete and now, The Coda in Colchester, for an afternoon session with the power trio - that is to say Me, The Bass Player and Helen, flautist, vocalist and registered pole dancer, resplendent in autumnal tones from top to toe. I consider having my colours done, but at present they might be a sort of cod-psychedelic mush. Or just the colour of cod.

The Bass Player and I are sequestered in the tour bus (my Skoda Karoq), he with the general ennui of his everyday existence and me with the sort of hangover that a quadruple gin and tonic snifter to finish a Friday night in front of HIGNFY will only be dispersed - we agree between us - by either a long nap or a serious infusion of caffeine, and at this stage we can’t decide which we need more. We are not aided by a listless wander up and down the high street looking for the venue which we intend to attend at a responsible hour before our scheduled three o’clock kick-off, but which it transpires doesn’t open until half two.

Upon admittance we admire the funky decor, and adopt bar stools. “Am I on a smaller stool or just a lot shorter than you?” enquires Helen. “I’m even wearing heels”. I approach the bar, somewhat shakily, and order three coffees. “What sort?” our host enquires. “Well, it’s after noon, so it can’t be a Cappuccino” I offer. “We’re not in Milan, but I will silently judge you” he responds, before putting together three amazing Americanos for an extraordinarily reasonable rate during which process which I apologise for delaying one of my my fellow drinkers’ orders. He’s just purchased a print of yachts in full sail off the Isle of Wight from the Emmaus charity shop opposite and is happy to chat while the coffee machine clicks and whirrs. 

We are to play at the end of the session, and so I look forward not only to the acoustic stylings of our fellow travellers on the afternoon showcase highway, but the additional recovery time afforded by the running order. The doors are wide open and so the high street traffic adds an ambient burr to proceedings when not drowned out by the world’s loudest toilet hand dryer. Before too long, and after a restorative Guinness which I manage to not spill entirely from my shaking hand, we are ushered onstage and fixed quickly and efficiently with a monitor mix and a DI pedal which contains an inbuilt tuner. As a veteran of the songwriter’s showcase and open-mic scene, and someone who has decided to play a twelve string guitar with a capo at one point, this is a welcome restorative.

 They also, quite wonderfully, livestream the whole thing on social media, so I would tell you about the performance itself, but you can make up your own minds. Helen works absolute wonders on transforming an old song called The Boy Who Loved Aeroplanes with her psych-folk flute, The Bass Player adds subtle harmonies and weaves wonderful lines throughout, and after a tight thirty-five we are off and able to indulge in the rest of our evenings. “Split the money three ways, yeah?” I quip. “Sure” says Helen. 

“How much do I owe you?”

Watch the This Much Talent Medium-Sized Band here:

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