12 Feb 2007

Eddi Reader live at Shepherd's Bush

The Guardian billed Eddi Reader as 'folk' in their '10 Things To Do' section on Saturday morning, Not unreasonable if you've been listening to the traditional-sounding Peacetime these last two weeks - indeed it's what I was expecting.

Luckily no one had told the band :-)

It was revelation: song after song from an album that I liked-a-lot-but-didn't-quite-thrill-to came alive as Eddi and her talented band thundered through two hours of top class music. Songs leapt out at me. The familar, love-and-understanding Peacetime became a pounding anthem (was that a bit of head-banging I spied from an excitable Boo Hewerdine ?) and the seventies-syrupy Prisons was transformed into an almost unrecognisable (and much better) bass-and-drums-driven piece of edginess. I suspect Roy Dodds might have something to do with it. Whenever I have seen Eddi play with him it's struck me that he drives the performance with his relentless, clever rhythms. Saturday was no exception.

Meanwhile the ballads were injected with a large dose of soul: Boo and Eddi's moving Safe as Houses the intriguing Galileo the charming Leezie Lindsay and even Ay-Waukin-O all were stronger and richer than the album versions.

Eddi had started the evening in underwhelming fashion: unexpectedly coming on stage (dressed in her duffle-coat!) to provide backing-vocals for the support band. It's not often you'll see that, and it silenced the noisy bar, but I'm not sure it was altogether wise: she seemed unsettled when she returned to the stage 30 minutes later, with just Dodds, Ian Carr and Boo accompanying a restrained, stripped down but low-key Medicine.

John McCusker, Alan Kelly and Kevin Mcguire then joined to bring the band up to full strength with the beautiful, lyrical Bell, Book and Candle, before Boo's Muddy Waters headed up sequence of six-of-the-best from the new album, each one better than the last building up to the first climax of the evening, the thumping Prisons, with Eddi growing visibly in confidence throughout, engaging the crowd in the some great banter and gentling chiding us for our English accents, our congestion charge and out trapped summer whale.

From then on th set list weaved, with older, familiar songs sprinkled amongst the Peactime tracks. Prisons gave wayto Charlie Is My Darling and a spontaneous-seeming Moon On The Rain was delightful surprise sandwiched between Galileo and Safe as Houses.

By now Eddi was on a roll. I don't suppose 1 person in a hundred noticed the Frankie Laine titles (Do not Forsake Me, Cool Water, Jezebel) smuggled into Kiteflyers' Hill, but I did. Great stuff.

Peacetime rounded off the session, followed by two encores, and five more songs: the seldom-disappointing Willie Stewart, an a cappella John Anderson my Joe and a lyrical, haunting Allelujah particularly strong.

All round a thoroughly enjoyable evening... Eddi, why don't you come to London more often??

Set List
  1. Medicine
  2. Bell, Book & Candle
  3. Muddy Waters
  4. Baron's Heir & Sadenia's Air
  5. Mary & the Gallant Soldier
  6. Should I Pray
  7. The Afton
  8. Prisons
  9. Charlie is my darling
  10. Leezie Lindsay
  11. Galileo
  12. Moon on the Rain
  13. Safe as Houses
  14. Kiteflyers Hill
  15. Aye Waulkin Ay
  16. Peacetime
  17. Alleluyah
  18. Willie Stuart / Mollie Rankin
  19. Jon Anderson my Joe
  20. Wild Mountainside
  21. Pay no Mind
  22. Claire
Album Track Count
  • Peacetime (11) (just the tricky Shepherd's Song and the secret bonus track missing)
  • Robbie Burns (4) (the four best ones)
  • First Of A Million Kisses (3) (golden, welcome oldies)
  • Angels and Electricity (2) (more please!)
  • Mirmama (1)
  • Candyfloss and Medicine (1) (neglected albums these two)
  • Simple Soul (0) (a travesty!)
Review: Peacetime
Review: Boo Hewerdine Live

2 comments:

lola said...

I absolutely agree, what an ace review. I want more old stuff, Simple Soul, Candyfloss and Medicine. I'm just glad that I got to see her in Brighton in 2002 before the the fiddling pixie got his hands on her.

botogol said...

The Eddi gig I most enjoyed was at Canary Wharf, Cabot Hall, the opening of the Simple Soul tour. 2001 I think it must have been. But Simple Soul is my favourite album