CHANTEL MCGREGOR – Live at Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh (Concert Review)

Chantel McGregor (courtesy of Waysted Photography)

Opening Thoughts:

Sunday nights can be often quiet nights all round. Sunday 30th September however had quite a few bands playing in both Edinburgh and Glasgow including blues player Chantel McGregor who had a date in Bannerman’s Bar in Edinburgh. Pleasingly I think there was a bigger crowd there than the last time I saw her in Edinburgh so word must be getting out at how good she is. Having had the pleasure of seeing her a few times now (and also reviewing) I was very excited to see her again. In my previous review I had remarked about how each show is different due to chopping and changing the set but also due to the way you never know where the chat and in between song banter will go. There are no pretentions about her, what you see is what you get. Truly a genuine performer. As expected there was some great playing along with some fun moments of chat.

The Gig:

The set focussed heavily on the second album Lose Control, a couple from the debut, a track for the next album and one cover. The songs from the first CD Like No Other are more playful sounding, especially the slinky “I’m No Good For You” (which reminds me slightly vocally of Katie Melua) with its jazzy funky back beat, which strangely lyrically is quite the opposite being quite dark and sad. The second album is more rockier and in your face with songs like the openers “Take The Power” and “Killing Time” which are a lively powerful opening to the show.

My personal favourite moments of the show are when Chantel goes for it, soloing, lost in the moment. At that those times she looks to be in a world of her own as she lets loose and plays as she feels.

Chantel belts it out (courtesy of Waysted Photography)

It is captivating to watch and enjoy. “Inconsolable” (a cover from an American folk rock singer called Jonatha Brooke) is wonderous. The interaction between her and her excellent rhythm section Colin Sutton on bass and Ollie Goss on drums is noticeable throughout the show but especially here as Chantel decides where she wishes to go and when she wants to do something a bit different. In fact both the lady herself and drummer Ollie are smiling at each other with the latter doing fills on a whim. I am sure bassist Colin was also smiling a lot but with his hair often falling in front of his face (reminded me of a cartoon character from my childhood called Sam Sheepdog, which is a reference for older readers) it was hard to tell at times!

 

New track “April” sounded terrific again, perhaps less Pink Floyd than my first impression from Glasgow. A musical workout with some lovely solos and a terrific atmospheric build up this makes me keen to hear the new album which hopefully might not be too far off.

Chantel Live (courtesy of Waysted Photography)

“Eternal Dreams” was the third of the longer songs. A delightful and quite moving piece about the late Jeff Buckley which was extended from its original 4 minutes recorded time. Again some terrific playing, emotional and interesting based on feel of the moment and subject with Chantel almost not with us as she played apart from a couple of times looking over at the guys when she was maybe wanting to do something a bit different or ask them by eyesight to alter or extend things. At least that is certainly how it looked from in the crowd.

Always Some Laughs And Fun:

There were as always moments of hilarity, this time caused by “the ghost(s) of Bannerman’s Bar” according to Chantel as technical problems hit the set. As always with grace and humour those little hiccups became part of the show along with the expressions “fuzzy wuzzy” and “schwizzle” as explanations of the problems! It is definitely the first time I have heard the name Norman Collier (a comedian/character from UK TV of the 70s) come up in the middle of a gig! How Chantel knew about him I have no idea. Even just the comments regarding the encore (there is no backstage or indeed sidestage at Bannerman’s) telling the band to put “coats over their heads to hide” from the audience whilst we shouted for more got laughs and cheers.

Once again Chantel, Colin and Ollie delivered a show with good songs, some great musicianship and a dose of humour. A great night all round from them.

Support On The Night:

We were treated to a support as well.  An artist called Stoney Broke (perhaps not his real name) with his acoustic guitar played some original numbers to which he joked “you won’t know them but then again neither do I”. I think he was lying to us as he knew them very well and presented them in a fine manner. His songs got more bluesy as the set wore on I thought and as that happened his solos became more noticeable and very enjoyable. He has a lovely rich timbre to his voice and was strong and clear. He also as noted above has a nice line in gentle humour engaging the crowd. His political song was very good as was his intro before as he said he wouldn’t tell anyone who to vote for but just to “be a nice person and not talk during my set” which got a laugh. I chatted with him before he played and due to my Rush t-shirt he was telling me about winding up a mate that is also a Rush fan by changing song titles to annoy him. One was his changing of “YYZ” to “Y Y Bother”. So all I can say in finish is “why why bother about Stoney Broke?” Simple answer is because he is a very good performer with songs to match. Good stuff all round!

Chantel Official Website

Stoney Broke Official Website

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