Thea-trics at the Brewery
Despite the madness that is the UK’s franchised rail chaos, I travelled successfully from Aberdeen to Kendal for a pre-Christmas visit to see the Matriarch; a trip that coincided with Thea Gilmore’s concert at the town’s Brewery Arts Centre.
Gilmore has been described by the Guardian as popular music’s “best-kept-secret” and by Mojo as “the most coherent, literate and charged British singer-songwriter of her generation“. I’d go along with that…
I first came across her on BBC 4’s The Christmas Session in 2009 when she performed That’ll be Christmas, now one of my favourite seasonal songs. You can find it here.
Her show at the Brewery started with a cheery “Hello Kendal”, a greeting that was met with a low-murmured reply and an exchange that made me laugh…
Thea: Hello Kendal!
Audience: Murmur, murmur.
Thea: Oh dear! You sound grumpy!
Voice from the back: You’re in Kendal, luv!
Kendal – plus ça change! The concert was terrific with a small string section filling-out the sound beautifully. The evening’s only disappoint was the lack of a slide guitar accompaniment to That’ll be Christmas and its replacement by a whistling violinist. How to spoil a classic, but the only hiccup in an otherwise memorable gig.
Here’s this week’s limerick…
As a long-standing fan, my idea
Was to travel to Kendal to see a
Songstress in action
(The headline attraction).
So I did, and was spellbound by Thea!
Postscript: Firstborn, look away now!
If you listen to That’ll be Christmas on the link above and let it play through to the song that follows it, you’ll find another seasonal favourite of mine, Bellowhead’s rendition of the gothic tragedy surrounding ‘Lovell’s bride’, The Mistletoe Bough.
For those unfamiliar with the story of Lovell’s bride, Genevra, you can read all about it here – or just re-visit it if you know the tale. Please do, it’s a Christmas classic and is followed by one of my favourite self-penned limericks!