Friday, 7 November 2008

Michelle Shocked - keep on rockin 'Shel.

Michelle Shocked - Union Chapel
A perfect evening; We were with a favourite troubadour artist at a favourite venue. Michelle Shocked at Union Chapel.

We met across the road from the Chapel. In the Library, which, of course was really a pub serving Belgian Monks' beer. We sat outside so that we could watch for the doors to open.

By 7:15 pm we were in the line, speculating about the support act named Shelly, whilst fireworks flashed in the November skies. We bagged some prime seats and left coats sprawled whilst we exited through a side door to the adjoining bar (no drinking of alcohol in the chapel). No alcohol allowed in the chapel
We sipped Red Stripe, until they announced the support act was ready to start. Not everyone watches support acts, but I usually do, so we headed back into the pews.

Some surprise as a hoodied figure was already singing and playing guitar. 'Shelly' was actually Michelle Shocked, doing the support act herself. Older songs in a plain acoustic style, homage to the Campfire Tapes. Already excellent and with a fine violin accompaniment.

A short pause and then Michelle returned, minus the hooded tracksuit and now with a small band. A mix of songs, some new and plenty from the formidable back catalogue.

Michelle Shocked is a great performer, with a blend of stories and songs; plenty of narrative and good ways to relate to the audience. The band 's musicians are all highly accomplished too, and the performance has spontaneity and sufficient confidence to veer from a set list as the evening's mood dictates.

Michelle Shocked's career spans from the 1980s through to now. For this show it was great was to see the energy, enthusiasm and connection with the audience throughout the performance. Beyond simple professionalism, here is a performer who has experienced plenty and has produced an accompanying soundtrack. Always fiercely independent, convinced of her causes and creating messages within her lyrics, Shocked was on top form for this gig.

We all left the gig with big smiles from an excellent evening. It goes into my top gigs list.

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