Sunday, 31 January 2010

It was a real treat to perform at the Jam House on Tuesday the 26th of January. This venue, which can boast Jools Holland as it's "Support Maestro" occupies a Georgian building in St Paul's Square, at the heart of Birmingham's Jewelry quarter. When I was in bands a couple of years ago, The Actress and Bishop pub round the corner was a regular venue, and the area has a reputation as a bit of a mecca for musos.

The Jam House itself, while apparently having a capacity of 600 over three floors, feels very intimate and made for a really fun gig. The gig was one of a monthly series of Acoustic Sessions hosted by Ben Drummond, who played a few tunes in between each of the guests he had invited to along to perform. Ben had just days before been chosen by One Republic to win a Vodafone/Myspace competition, and he demonstrated what had caught their attention with his skillful singing, innovative guitar playing and relaxed but clearly experienced stage persona.

My five song set went down well and I really enjoyed having three sections of the room to play too, making sure I was keeping the attention of each group and not favouring anyone. About twenty people had been enjoying a meal on the balcony overlooking the stage just before the music started, and very kindly they split their attention between dinner and the performers. On the same level as the stage were the majority of the audience, which started as a decent number and built through the night to a good sized crowd. Finally in the lower bar, just visible from the stage, people stood and listened while they had a couple of drinks before moving on to other haunts.

The rest of the night was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the sets of the other acts;

Nikki Rous is one of my favourite female singers who did a lot to help out my old band, something I've never really thanked her for. I hadn't seen her perform for a few years, and she continues to write very touching, heartfelt and most importantly melodic and memorable songs.

Next was Ellen Miller, again clearly a seasoned performer with a very engaging stage persona and well written, and catchy story telling songs.

Emma Skipp, one time fellow Wolverhampton Uni type, who works as a professional singer with the likes of The Enemy, gave a fantastic treatment of some classic covers. Very grumpily I left before she'd finished in order to get everyone I'd travelled with home early enough to be ready for work the next day.

Through having to leave before the end of the night, I managed to miss Dominic Crane, someone I was keen to hear and meet after all his recent coverage on BBC WM. Hopefully I will get another chance soon...

All in all a fantastic night and I am happy recommend the Jam House to one and all, particularly these Acoustic Sessions hosted by Ben Drummond with the best performers around, the classiest venue and all for free!

As with the Newhampton Arts Centre gig last October and with all the nights I've played at the Tower of Song, the best part of these gigs is getting the chance to perform along side the best talent around, and feeling, just for the shortest time, that I fit in alongside their exclusive ranks.

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