Been so busy writing about rugby recently, ickledot's neglected to mention two musical events that happened within couple of days of each other earlier in October. Both featured guitarist-singer-songwriters currently right at the top of their game.
The first was Joanne Shaw Taylor then towards the start of a national tour, promoting her new album, The Dirty Truth. Appearing at The Gala Theatre in Durham, Joanne provided a great show during which she revealed just how strong some of these new songs are and how well they sound live. Particular new favourites were 'Wrecking Ball' and the album's title track which closed the show. There were quite a few tracks from her back catalogue too, including 2010's 'Diamonds In The Dirt' (view an Australian recording of it here) - a showcase for her beautifully husky voice - building to a powerful, evocative guitar solo.
Unfortunately ickledot's photographic skills were not quite up to the challenges offered by the theatre's rather dim, predominantly orange, lighting. The evening ended with barely a handful of acceptable shots, if that, which was a disappointment, especially considering the show had been so good.
Fast forward two nights for the appearance of Erja Lyytinen and her band at Keighley Blues Club. There's a link with The Gala as ickledot had previously seen Erja there at Durham Blues Festival. The lighting wasn't brilliant then either. Thankfully, Keighley Blues Club, a much smaller venue, has improved its lighting during the summer break and ickledot was very pleased with some of his resulting shots. It was great to be close to the action and also to shoot from a variety of angles, including from the side of the stage. Erja's show was every bit as good as the one witnessed two nights before; a complete contrast though, both in terms of vocal delivery and guitar technique. One of many highlights was 'The Sky Is Crying', a version of which you can see here.
ickledot's always been a tad nervous showing photographs of female performers, after a certain one criticised a picture of her leaning forward in profile, giving an impression of a double chin. Ever since, he's always found himself thinking, 'What would she think of this?' Guess that question should be asked of anyone, regardless of gender. In these particular cases, the answer from one would probably be 'not much' and the other might be 'not bad'.