Gig Night At Strings – Holly Kirby and the Great Outdoors Supported by Doug Alldred and the Silver Lining

Drunk tweeting is one thing, drunk blogging another… so here goes whatever…

WHAT IS IT WITH FOLK NOT GOING OUT TO SEE LIVE MUSIC?!

Earlier today, I did a 250 mile + ferry sprint back to the Island (“She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight, and she calls it the Island, as if there were no other island in the world” etc. Look it up, if you don’t recognise it…) to catch a couple of local bands in a local venue that I’m starting to class as “a proper touring band venue”: Strings.

There weren’t many in on the door, but that’s their loss…

I missed most of the second support (from Platform One stock, maybe?) but caught Doug Alldred and (a chunk of) the Silver Lining‘s support… Ever solid, great conversation, previous BBC Radio 2 airplay, if you had nothing better to do, you’d always do this (that may sound like a negative review; it’s not… If you have nothing better to do, you won’t be disappointed by seeing a Doug Alldred set….).

(The above embedded video sounds a bit like a bedroom demo. If you’ve listened to bedroom demos, you know the live set can be markedly different…)

Tonight’s set put me in mind of 3am in Ronnie Scott’s: missed last train home, something entertaining to do whilst waiting for the next day’s first train…. You wouldn’t not do it again…

Headline was Holly Kirby and the Great Outdoors.

The first time I saw Holly play was an intimate and nervous solo acoustic, a small venue with a maxed couple of dozen audience. Like a shy teen’s bedroom demos, nervously playing her personal songs. But a songstress, nevertheless.

Not hard to imagine Amy Macdonald like, if a band had been there.

Last year (?) Holly started playing with an island backing band ((&) The Great Outdoors), folk style.

(If you fancy an Island break, with a musical interlude, the RhythmTree Festival is a gentle, musically interesting, family friendly weekend… and I’ll see you there…)

Perfick… the first time… but the more I see them play, the more it misses…

Holly’s voice is so fragile, that it can so easily get lost, even with a folk acoustic band (and they’re not unsympathetic).

When I imagine her voice, it’s in the top of the back of my throat, enunciating each word clearly. Classically trained? No idea. But a songstress. But not voice front, throaty and shouty.

I would love to hear an REM acoustic cover of one of Holly’s songs:

Stipe always struck me as fragile, too…

It would be a masterclass, I think, in where the songs could go. (Stipe’s lyrical complexity and execution, the band’s interpretation, and a good sound engineer come producer’s gloss, would just: master to apprentice…. But an apprentice with promise… )

Some of the songs could hit big time…

More than hints of Enya:

But the orchestration, and production, how the swell of the song is managed, how a clever sound engineer can thicken the sound, and etc etc… It needs some more work… But with that more work, it could really( work…

(I, just… what would Holly sound like with classical strings backing, I wonder?!)

From my limited experience of sound engineering a couple of decades ago (a couple of studio tracks, the odd live gig — I am the worst sound engineer I know), I would love to have a couple of multitracks of a couple of Live Outdoors backed tracks to see if I could find a way to visualise them and see the bits that work for me, as well as the bits that don’t…

There’s space in the songs — I don’t know if a female backing singer could thicken the sound whilst still letting Holly’s voice float in space over the top — but it’s so frustrating…

The more I hear the songs played, the more I hear the bits that are missing…

One of the things I learned early on from following bands is that the same band playing the same song: never the same…

But my feeling is that Holly’s could go so much further than they can currently execute…

Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t see them if you get the chance. Because if they can make it click, you may not get the chance…

That said, some of the tunes — and execution — are pretty cracking anyway…

Mike Oldfield multi-instrumentalism, meh… Holly’s way poppier…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “Gig Night At Strings – Holly Kirby and the Great Outdoors Supported by Doug Alldred and the Silver Lining”

  1. Your comment about (maybe drink) tweeting and blogging at/about gigs made me reflect on the James Brothers gig I saw on Monday night at The Royal Oak in Bath (I’ve taken you there). I recorded a couple of their numbers – and asked if they minded if I uploaded them. They didn’t (although I haven’t upload them as the image quality wasn’t great). But is the issue of copyright; etiquette for (semi-)professional performers ;etc. now a thing of the past? And if people freely publish video clips at live gigs, why would they not do the same when lecturers are doing their live ‘gigs’?!

    1. It’s not just a courtesy thing. Formal performances can be copyrightable, I think. So you can’t film plays, or motorsport events without permission. Someone giving a lecture could claim it as a performance which would give them redress under copyright if you filmed and published it.

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