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Friday, May 10, 2019

Zoë Gilby and Andy Champion @ Sage Gateshead – May 8


Zoë Gilby (voice); Andy Champion (bass)
(Review by Chris Kilsby)

The local voice and double bass duo had secured the support slot at Sage 2, and their enthusiasm and pleasure at getting the gig shone through immediately.  

I had never seen the duo play live, and was as taken by the agile and thoughtful vocal style as by the intensity and variation they sustained throughout - and all this from such a minimal duo format!   Zoë Gilby took charge from the off, regaling us with tales of the origin and influences of the music. The latest source of inspiration is their “Vinyl Club”, scouring local record shops for old gems for as little as £1!  They certainly found some gems to work with here - following Sheila Jordan’s advice to take risks with the material paid off handsomely.

The set consisted of a varied and challenging range of covers, but they started with a safe “banker” - Pink Floyd’s stalwart Money. This was, however, sung in jaunty, fresh style, propelled by the powerful, singing bass line.   This was followed by Knight Moves (Suzanne Vega) and a subtly beautiful Kashka from Baghdad (Kate Bush), where I have to say I preferred Zoë’s delivery to that of the original chanteuse!

Straight, No Chaser (Monk) was the only conventional jazz number and was carried off with great aplomb, complete with scat and an awesome extended bass solo, exploring every facet of the tune.

The set was rounded off by a new number for the duo - the revered River Man (Nick Drake). The melancholy, mystic soul was so well captured here that an awed hush settled around Sage 2 as the last bass notes reverberated before heartfelt applause flooded the silence.  I wonder how many of the audience shared the shivers up my spine?

Support slots might be viewed as an appetizer before the “main meal”, but not only was this set appetizing, it was a meal in itself!
Chris

1 comment :

George said...

River Man - I heard them play it a while back ; your piece evokes echos, gazing into the mist on the water that they capture so beautifully.

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