Monday, 26 September 2011

Gig Review - Adam Holmes & The Embers @ Captain's Rest

Having been a big fan of Adam Holmes And The Embers music for a while ('Fire In The Sun' featured on Scottish Fiction July EP and Adam joined me last week for a live session on Pulse Community Radio.) So it was fantastic to be able to finally catch the band live at The Captain's Rest last Thursday 22nd September.

But before that we were treated to two fantastic support acts. (Phew that's a lot of links above!)

First up was Amy Sawers who has featured in teen drama (read: sex romp) Skins (apologies for the MySpace link, it was the only one I could find). Playing on a guitar that was borrowed from Adam Holmes, her stripped back sound retained a darkness and sense of forebodding akin to the no longer of this earth Miss Winehouse. She has a fine voice, which filled every corner of The Captain's Rest effortlessly. Last song 'Last Train' was a quieter gentler song to end proceedings. This girl has caught my attention, have a listen below to see if she catches yours.

Next on the bill was Donna Maciocia with her FULL band. Standing on stage strumming a ukele she starts her set. With the help of a self made beat box, the sound is Hawaii meets East London, which is no bad thing. By the end of the first song their is a five person choir echoing round the small room, but only one person on stage. Impressive. Second song 'Infinite Colours' sees the rest of the band join Maciocia on stage, and rock a funky bassline throughout. Donna stands centre of stage, commanding her keyboard and filling the room with some well placed 'ooooooh's (except it sounds better than it looks written down).

A few songs in and we get treated to another absolute belter of a track, 'Beauty Of Choice' sees the return of some beatbox action, which is used to very good effect. You can check out the video on YouTube. Some name dropping celeb action follows as Stu Goodall (he of the Stu Goodall Band) clambers on stage to lend some soft vocals to the next song.

The set ends with possible the worst plug I've ever heard, as Maciocia informs us that she has CD's on sale upstairs, but none of the songs she has played are on them! It's all in good jest, and I'm sure that many people, like me, left the gig with one of those CD's in hand. Onwards to the closing song, which finally let's me place a musical reference, as it sounds very Alison Mosshart (in either The Kills or The Dead Weather). Keep your eyes peeled for some future blog space from Miss Maciocia.

And onto the main event.Adam Holmes takes the stage backed by his band The Embers. Straight from the word go, Holmes is keen to involve the audience, offering up explanations behind the songs he is singing. That's one of the first things to strike you about the band, they genuinely seem to be enjoying every minute on stage, and Holmes' songs are written with a heartfelt honesty.

Third song in and we are treated to a track of the recent EP, 'Long Way Home'. It should be noted that only in Glasgow's West End, with it's healthy population of Edinburgh ex-pats, could you get away with saying, "I'm from Edinburgh, it's a great place" as Holmes does to introduce the next track 'Home'. It's the most folky/country offering of the night so far, and keeps the crowd happy.

Keeping up the banter, Holmes then recalls a story from our interview on Pulse Community Radio last Monday evening. I'm humbled, but not as humbled as I'm sure Donna Macoicia must have been, having been told that with her full band, The Embers feel like they should be supporting her. It's good when there's a mutual appreciation between acts on the same bill, rather than the selfish 'I've-done-my-bit' attitude.

As for the sound, there's a genuine feel of Neil Young in the music, and a hint of Paolo Nutini in Holmes' voice. At times the band almost inspire a hoedown, and others the mood is very mellow. One of the skills of Holmes, is knowing when to change pace, and the well lubricated audience are offered a rarity. A happy song.

Heading to the final stretch, Holmes throws in a cover of one of his biggest influences, who we are told if he was still around today would be sitting in bars getting drunk. Can't argue with that. A beautiful rendition of Robert Burns' 'Ae Fond Kiss'. The last two songs are the other tracks from the EP. 'I Can't Be Right' is a powerful track, with the full band backing it up, sounding very much influenced by Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. And to end the night Holmes' invites his support acts, Amy Sawers and Donna Maciocia back up to join in with the chorus of 'Fire In The Sun'. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable night, and I certainly recommend checking out more of all three acts on the bill.

No comments:

Post a Comment