Christine Tobin, Forge, London

From November 2012. Playing the Forge in Camden for the first time Christine Tobin chose the occasion to perform songs from her 2012 album Sailing to Byzantium, matching the album selections with songs by Leonard Cohen, Brooklyn poet Eva Salzman, …

Published: 16 Nov 2019. Updated: 2 years.

From November 2012. Playing the Forge in Camden for the first time Christine Tobin chose the occasion to perform songs from her 2012 album Sailing to Byzantium, matching the album selections with songs by Leonard Cohen, Brooklyn poet Eva Salzman, and at the end Carole King.

With the Margate-based singer’s band of pianist Liam Noble, her accompanist on Carole King songbook album Tapestry Unravelled, bassist Dave Whitford, cellist Kate Shortt, and guitarist Phil Robson, Tobin, whose latest album sets music to the poetry of WB Yeats with spoken word contributions by the great actor Gabriel Byrne (his recorded voice an evocative early presence here on ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’), was able to channel deep to the heart of the matter in her intelligent treatment of the peerless poetry of Ireland’s national poet. ‘The Second Coming’, Tobin describing it as ‘apocalypic’, was the most dramatic interpretation of the two-set concert, although one of Tobin’s great many strengths is that she relies on close study of her texts in terms of enunciation and above all timing performing the songs with a vocal range that makes use of a great deal of flexibility in terms of tone, and understated but hugely effective communicative quality.

It could be said that having heard Tobin’s vocal versions of choice poems from the Yeatsian canon returning to the source has added meaning, added light and texture such is the finely judged sensitivity Tobin brought to the project. ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz’ was quite superb, and ‘Long-Legged Fly’ with lovely little syncopated touches from Shortt a strong feature of the programme dotted with delights. Tobin is also a remarkable interpreter of the songs of Leonard Cohen, and the inclusion of a few of his songs was a strong match, and I particularly enjoyed her rendition of ‘Everybody Knows’ that drew out the humour and seriousness of the lyric.

Sailing to Byzantium is a quite extraordinary album, Tobin peerless and unassailable here, Yeats clearly her métier, in Cohen’s line ‘a shining artifact of the past.’

Tags:

WorldService Project, For King & Country, RareNoise

From 2016. Hardly royalists, the pomp and Freddie Mercury-esque swagger of opening terrace chant ‘Flick the Beanstalk’, preposterously, is the closest Dave Morecroft’s courtiers and assorted palace flunkeys get to doff their hats to anyone. …

Published: 16 Nov 2019. Updated: 3 years.

Next post

From 2016. Hardly royalists, the pomp and Freddie Mercury-esque swagger of opening terrace chant ‘Flick the Beanstalk’, preposterously, is the closest Dave Morecroft’s courtiers and assorted palace flunkeys get to doff their hats to anyone.

Variously described as punk-jazz, prog or even, at the start of their existence, somewhat mysteriously avant funk, WorldService Project have moved label and usher in some personnel changes for this their new, ‘his Maj’, Chris Sharkey-produced album.

The eight tracks are all Morecroft’s compositional oeuvre (seems a fair enough word given the arch circumstances), all distressed synths mauled and disturbingly caressed, poor kittens in his callous Django Bates-like disregard for standing on ceremony. Morecroft is as ever the moustache-twiddling ringmaster of his own carefully conceived flea circus, Raphael Clarkson’s renaissance man trombone solo on ‘Murano Faro’ the simmeringly sensuous ballad that restrains the hopping gothic bluster and the rocking out from going the full Rick Wakeman just in the nick of time.

Three years on from the Megasound-issued Fire in a Pet Shop arrangements are also by Sharkey and this introduces a certain skip and freshness to their burning drive and nutty energy.

Recorded in a Gwent studio last autumn there’s heavy jam-kindled brainstorming aplenty, keyboards that might as well be crossdressing as guitars that up the textural ante and ideas meter considerably.

Five and a half years since the highly Zappafied outfit made their debut with the fairly obscure Relentless this is their most lucid work. Tim Ower is on saxophone, Clarkson, as mentioned, trombone, Trinity Laban student Arthur O’Hara on beefy bass guitar replacing Conor Chaplin, a big part of the band story so far, and their latest drummer Harry Pope even manages to provide some earthy thumps and puts the boot in when needed.

Proggier than ever thanks to lots of clever effects and decibel decadence, the squeaky clown, Morecroft’s alter ego on penultimate track ‘Mr Giggles’, is like WSP’s very own sixth Beatle the band mischievously quoting ‘In The Mood’ the clown disgracing himself in the process somehow. The closing track is a riot of goblin-like voices and borderline madness. SG