The intimate upstairs area of The Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green was the setting of York’s Little Festival of Live Music: Unplugged. This acoustic mini-festival consisted of ten acts playing over two evenings. York Calling went along to check out the line-up on Saturday.
Photos by Jim and Sarah Harper
With Rachel Croft in full flow performing a cover of Sting’sFields of Gold the scene was already set upon arrival. A mesmerising performer, Rachel performed before a silent, appreciative audience. She made her way through a whimsical set of covers ranging from Beyonce to Eva Cassidy but it was her original material where she really shined. Rachel exhibited a fine poetic song writing craft, particularly in her songs Hear Me and Old Climbing Tree, the latter telling a beautiful folky story.
Then it was time for something completely different as the six members of These and The Other Guys squeezed into the small performing area. Consisting of keys, strings, snare and vocals, they journeyed through an impressive range of genres and styles including funk, blues, jazz, rockabilly and country. Jolly, sultry, Bohemian and hedonistic, These and The Other Guys were a delight to watch. They played engaging toe-tapping numbers one after another. Highlights were the bluesy Chocolate and the reggae-inspired Leave Them By The Door.
According to Eve
These and The Other Guys
Up next were stripped-back duo According to Eve. They kicked off with a cover of Bob Marley’s Is This Love that they made their own, and proceeded to play a mix of covers and originals. Everybody Sayshad an upbeat and infectious chorus (well, they do affectionately refer to it as ‘the sneezing song’).Watching Stars was melancholic and sultry. Better Mentality was full of sassy soul. Perhaps the highlight, Arms Wide Open introduced some reverb to their sound, meaning guitarist Tim could turn his guitar into a full percussion set and singer Eve’s voice took on an Indiana-esque quality.
The night closed with an absorbing set from Sam Griffiths. Sam was joined on stage by friends Charlie on harmonies and Isaac on electric guitar, and the trio performed a number of folky originals. Sam performed with charisma, noticeably at ease with his performance and singing with a voice and style not too dissimilar to The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy. His lyrics turned the everyday into something beautiful and abstract, especially in A Noise Such As You andSafely On The Run.
If we needed any further proof that York is currently blessed with a glut of talent then this evening was it. A great night all round and a fantastic way for York’s Little Festival of Music to celebrate its first birthday.
York’s Little Festival of Music: Unplugged took place at The Black Swan Inn on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 September 2014.