If you weren't at Warwick Arts Centre last Saturday to hear the Portico Quartet (see my earlier post), you missed out on a great evening.
The only thing that made it less than excellent was that so few people attended. Earlier on in the previous week, I'd been posted replacement tickets - the venue had moved from the Butterworth Hall (seating about 2000 people) to the Theatre (about 500). That isn't in itself a bad thing, because I think the PQ style is better suited to a more intimate space. However, when we got there, it was obvious that even with the move there were a lot of unsold seats.
Which is a real pity. Still, the audience they got was very appreciative. I just hope they got better sales elsewhere.
I don't know about you, but the phrase "and support" tends to cast a prospective gloom over a gig. So often it seems to translate as "you've never heard of them, you'll wish you hadn't, and you'll probably never hear of them again." Well, this time was an exception. The support turned out to be Kami Thompson, an excellent singer/songwriter. No, I'd not heard of her before (though I've been a fan of her parents, Richard and Linda Thompson of Fairport Convention, for years). I intend to hear much more of her, if possible. Apparently she's releasing her début album, Love Lies, "any time soon". It can't be too soon for me :)
You can listen to some of her tracks on her MySpace page. Unfortunately, from my point of view, they've been "studioed-up" - more instrumentation, additional voices, fewer rough edges - and I think I prefer her as she was last Saturday night: just a slightly-nervous her, electric guitar, and a mug of what she assured us wasn't tea. She puts me in mind of Michelle Shocked before she turned gospelly - you won't get Ms. Shocked singing a ten-second "Screw you!" (unfortunately the song to which that's the refrain isn't online - I'm hoping it's on the album.)
Give her a listen, and see if you like it.