Review: June Acoustic Extravaganza @ The Basement, 14/6/11

Somewhat shamefully, I’d never been to one of The Basement’s acoustic extravaganzas before – but this month’s gig, curated by the excellent Marbled, seemed like as good a time to start as any.

First on is Sophie Wilson, who’s been plucked from the city’s open-mic scene to play her first billed gig. Her inclusion is quickly justified by her beautiful voice and some fine guitar playing, encapsulated by the gorgeous version of KT Tunstall’s ‘Heal Over’ with which she closes her set.

Next up is Bridlington-based musician Nick Tudor. Halfway through his set, Nick introduces a song as follows: “This is a song about the dole” *Is met with complete silence* “I guess you’ve all got jobs then!” His wry banter is backed up with heartfelt, sincere songs delivered in warm, deep tones – his dedication of ‘Sonshine’ to his kids is particularly sweet, and encapsulates his honest approach to his music. An excellent performance that’s well-received by the crowd.

Sandwiched in the middle of the bill is Marbled himself. This is the first chance I’ve had to see him play in a good while, but his performance is a potent reminder of what a great performer he is. New track ‘Movers And Shakers’ (concerning the need to always be looking at your best in a post-Facebook world) makes its live debut, alongside stunning renditions of ‘The Robin’ and ‘I Make My Home(work)’ and gutsy set-closer ‘Bad Bones’. Even though he’s seated for the entirety of his set, his energetic performance leaves you with the feeling that he never gives less than 100%.

Following Marbled is Tom Reeve, a young man who matches his finger-picked guitar lines with intriguing, rapidly-delivered lyrics concerning pressgangers, wars against vermin, and pistol duels to create an engaging prospect. He’s also joined by his band Young Believers later on in his set, with fellow vocalist/guitarist William Sharpe offering a change of pace by taking the lead on a couple of tracks.

Finally, Jonny Dobbs provides a relaxed end to the evening with his laid-back, soulful vibes. Accompanied by a guitarist and bass player, his songs have an American-tinged feel to them, calling to mind sunset-lit beaches across the Atlantic – it’s a mellow and accomplished way to round off the night.

Great stuff all round then, and worth catching any of these artists if you get the chance – and if tonight is anything to go by, it’ll also be worth keeping an eye out for more acoustic extravaganzas at The Basement in the coming months.

Find out more about upcoming events at The Basement here.

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