|20/2/2014||Babajack||Review by Liz Aiken|
The warm up act tonight at The Flowerpot thanks to Raw Promo were , Rita Payne are singer songwriters from Doncaster this duo describe themselves as ”Acoustic Foot-Stompers” the name they have chosen to perform under is eclectic and different just like the act and has no relevance to their actual names, Rhiannon Scutt (Acoustic Guitar, stomp Box suitcase and backing vocals) and Pete Sowerby (Vocals and Tambourine). They delivered a wide range of music from self-penned through to the Beatles and a very fine version of ‘Billy Jean‘ given the folksy treatment making the song stand out from the crowd with this intuitive re-arrangement. The set they delivered was very entertaining, Pete had warm personality that ensured the audience related to their approach to traditional music dragged into the 21st Century with a twist of modernity. There own ‘Patchwork Song‘ about a previous and disastrous relationship was delivered with confidence – this is an entertaining act that is definitely worth seeing live. Rhiannon has a deft touch on the guitar making it sing which complemented her powerful and tuneful voice and when combined with Pete’s clear tenor vocals make a duet in harmony and they work well together communicating where they are taking the music. This is an act with a clear vision of the sound they want to produce and delight the audience with.
This warm up act was definitely slightly off-the-wall but with their charismatic stage presence, augmenting their musical skills, Rita Payne are just what you need in a warm up act they made you wanting more and left you in the mood for the main act of the evening; they were the perfect act to combine with Babajack’s unique approach to the blues.
Tonight was Babajack the band, not a four piece as unfortunately Tosh (drummer) was unwell so Becky had the responsibility of providing percussion all night a task she was delighted to fulfill, so tonight at The Flowerpot it was a trio with Adam Birtenshaw providing a solid bass line to give a solid foundation as Becky and Trevor took their songs on a walk. At times it was free-form, as the music took them on a journey with no beginning or end and then they pulled it back to the original plan and the song came to a celebratory end. This energised the audience who had come to see Babajack in full flight. Becky was on sparkling form her chatter between tracks continued to be energetic interspersed with her melodic laughter, with Trevor’s self-made guitar boxes being introduced, firstly Joanna – made using resources from a variety of sources including the dog bones and pieces from an old piano hence her name. Later in the set we were introduced to Graham, made from a port box and had a ‘fruitier, stronger tone and flavour… goes well with strong cheese…” the story ended with a bubbling laughter from Becky it was true this guitar had that depth of range delivered to your ears in much the same way a good Port delivers to your palette.
This was a confident performance, delivered with passion and the sheer delight of performing music that is loved by the performers and the very essence of the beat understood and shared with the audience. Babajack delivered the beat with every note creating a verve and energy in the audience so that an electric frisson of live music magic swept across the audience. The set was a walk through their back catalogue, a seductive delivery of tracks from their latest album ‘Running Man‘; with a fantastic live rendition of the title track where Becky, Trevor and Adam created the illusion through timing and vocal delivery the feeling of running from something fearful, that you do not understand. The set was a balanced musical walk through the colours textures and emotions of the Babajack discography and the airing of a new track Religion, which has a different feel about the tone with an undercurrent of country/Americana and as ever has strong vocals, harmonica and percussive force, the song definitely excited and whetted the appetite that an anticipated fifth Babajack album will be a fixture on our decks very soon. The set as ever included Babajack audience’s favourites including Gallows Pole, Death Letter Blues and Black Betty with enthusiastic crowd participation, this had the performers working themselves up into a dervish whirl… with Trevor falling off his stool, this did not stop the show they just played on as he regained his breath with only his pride hurt! The Babajack sound is like coming home to a security blanket, you are rooted and sustained as a giant oak that spreads its branches across the land and drives its roots into the heart of the soil. There is no doubt about it a deep wisdom in each song sung and beat delivered by this award winning band that has the mighty Trevor as its engine and the twirling, swirling Becky as the wind that whispers and cajoles the inner meaning from every song so that you are drawn into and totally captured.