AcoustiCity Opening night April 27th 2002

Review by Gary Nicklin

Rachael & SteveThe Headgate Theatre is Colchesterís newest home for amateur theatre and music. The AcoustiCity Music Club is a new venture showcasing the best in local and national songwriters and acoustic musicians. The theatre is fairly compact and seats around a hundred or so and the night was sold out in advance. This, the first AcoustiCity night, had three bands on the bill.

The evening opened with Rachael Swindlehurst and Steve Jones. Rachael and Steve play in London band Jilt, and they treated the audience to acoustic versions of a selection of their songs. Most were performed with just guitar and vocals and Rachaelís powerful and emotional voice filled the venue, counter pointing the softness and delicacy of Steveís guitar playing. For a few songs Darren Tansley joined them, adding a layer of keyboards to the songs. Towards the end of the set, they played a version of REMís Losing My Religion, and Rachael wrung every ounce of emotion out of it leaving most of the audience stunned that such a fantastic voice could come from such a tiny girl.

PavlovNext on were local four piece, Pavlovís Cat. They played a selection of self-penned and traditional acoustic songs. James the songwriter and guitar player and Darren, the keyboard player, exchanged friendly jibes as James changed his tunings between songs. The songs themselves are good, melodic modern folk songs. The rhythm section of bass and bodhran give a good solid foundation for the music and layered voices to play over.

SilverleafSilverleaf, who are described as a Newbury based Anglo-Scottish jangling acoustic pop/rock band, headlined the evening. Its been a long time since Iíve seen a band who looked like they enjoyed playing this much. Wob, the singer and guitarist bounced around the stage with a huge grin across his face, and there were some great feature vocals from bass player Matt. The band also includes fellow ex Blyth Power guitar player John so they have quite a pedigree. Their set was great and it was a shame that the venue was all seated, as it wouldíve been great to be able to dance along to their songs.

James and Darren from Pavlovís are the organisers of AcoustiCity, and were understandably apprehensive of how the evening would go. I donít think they could have wished for a better start to the venture, and I hope the rest of the evenings go as well.

Gary Nicklin is a writer with stories published on various internet sites. A selection of his writing can be found on