Another Cracking Show
by Andy Fawthrop
It was February 2020, pre-pandemic, pre-Lockdown, that the New York-based Jack Grace Band last performed at The Southgate. I remember that show as being a cracking night out, so I wasn’t going to miss a second bite at this rather luscious cherry. Jack is on a short UK tour, before heading back to the US for a few more gigs.
With an eye on the weather forecast, Dave & Debs had moved the gig indoors – a smaller space to see the band, but a much better intimate atmosphere. Getting back to old times almost.
Appearing previously as a trio, this time the “band” consisted of only one other musician, drummer Ian Griffith. Yet this didn’t appear to slow Jack down one little bit. We got two great sets, packed with songs, stories and great audience banter. The songs were punchy, often short and to the point, with witty whip-smart lyrics and some spot-on guitar picking. Each one was introduced with the story behind it, often featuring booze, love, women and the life as a musician. The music was full of hooks, foot-tapping riffs and catchy lyrics. We even had audience participation, with Jack managing to poke fun at what he referred to as Britain’s “warm” beer. But we’ll let him off that little insult.
Jack is not just a song-writer and a musician, he’s also a born raconteur and a great all-round entertainer. Using harmonica, guitar and vocals he was able to quickly conjure up vivid pictures of past scenarios, memories, jokes and his occasional brushes with fame. Only one number in and the audience were completely onside. This was what live music is all about – a man who wants to play and get close to his audience, and a crowd who were absolutely out to enjoy themselves whilst having a few beers. Great gig.
Future gigs at The Southgate:
- Friday 29th October – Grizzly Rhys Morgan 9pm
- Saturday 30th October – Celtic Roots Collective
- Fri/ Sat/ Sun 29th – 31st October – Beer & Cider Festival
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