I don’t get to gigs in Harrogate as often as I’d like – or as often say, as someone who writes about what is on in Harrogate should. This is cos mainly I work when they are on, if I’m not working I’m on luxurious holidays frittering away the literally thousands of pounds worth of fees I command for my in demand sets of playing music to the back of 6 disinterested people’s heads. So when I saw Jason Feddy was making one of his rare appearances at the Blues, after struggling with the whole “Urgh, i’ll have to get out of bed before 3pm” dilemma, I sent out a text to my remaining best mate that hasn’t had to move out of Harrogate due to “work commitments, life commitments and… listen Trev, it’s not me it’s you commitments” Bex, who is my closest confidante.. unfortunately she couldn’t make it. Bex did send her boyfriend though, who I suspect is going to move her away to Germany, Liverpool, The South Coast or wherever this years “must go” destination is for people who just want to get me out of their life…
As you can possibly tell oftentimes I get a bit glum about how I’ve no friends and everyone hates me, but when I’m in “radiohead town” sometimes I want to listen to something more uplifting to get me through it. For the last 17ish years one of my “go to” albums has been Jason Feddy’s “I thought the moon was meant for me” – so going and seeing the man who recorded it play in the place he recorded it, I was slightly worried… what if he doesn’t do any of those tracks… what if he’s not as good as those hazy hazy reccolections from what – nearly 2 decades ago… what if I get there and someone laughs at my hair??? There was a lot riding on this… The cosy lure of staying in bed and wasting my life notwithstanding, I arrived at the appointed time of 3 in the God damned afternoon – and the Blues was heaving! Really though I’m not in the least surprised. The Blues Bar is not really a bar; later in proceedings Jason would describe it perfectly: it’s not a bar, it’s a tabernacle – hey, I just googled it to make sure and it means “a meeting place of worship for non-conformists”; I can only assume the person who wrote that must have BEEN to the Blues Bar. What I’m saying when I coldheartedly rob Jason’s brilliant analogy is there are people here who are coming for the same reasons some people go to church. They are looking for something almost spiritual. The opening sermon comes from Matt Goldberg, who today is reading from the book of Reggae, played on a ukaleli. Matt and his MG Band play all over town and it was a right nice bonus to get to see him do some solo stuff cos since I (try to) write about what’s going on in Harrogate it seems appropriate that I should know how good one of the main players is on the live scene. Matt is effortlessly good. He’s like your mate picking up an acoustic guitar at a BBQ, only instead of killing the mood by singing another song about a girl who doesn’t like him, Matt compliments the atmosphere; whilst I have no idea what his songs are about (this is something I generally suffer from, seriously I thought “Wonderwall” was about a really good builder) I FEEL like I can relate to them. Quite how a bloke with a ukaleli doing reggae type tunes speaks to my middle class white bwoy rootz is beyond me but don’t question it, worship for the day has begun. By the time Jason Feddy starts, the blues bar is not just “standing room only”, it’s “breathing room only”. It’s at capacity and is steaming hot, not just from shared body heat but shared anticipation. I mentioned earlier I was apprehensive – what if I had built Jason up to be something he wasn’t? It HAS been 408 months or something since I last saw him, and back then I was only really into acid techno and gabber music and didn’t really do live stuff so enjoying a bloke singing songs was a bit of an awakening for me… perhaps I’ve been dwelling in nostalgia town…? As soon as he sings his first WORD my fears were cast asunder like the the fears of any woman who’s ever dated me and worried if I’m not as effortlessly charming and charismatic as I seem in my writing… Jason’s VOICE is just stunning! I also said I was worried I wouldn’t know any of the songs… I totally have never heard any of his first 5 or 6 tunes, but I care not, THAT voice… that voice could be singing racial slurs and I would still love it. Fortunately of course there are no racial slurs here, just really high quality singer songwriting from a bloke who is a master, and knows his craft. When he moves into the more familiar territory of his hits as it were, everyone sings along and you feel like you BELONG here, at the holy tabernacle of Harrogate’s bohemians. And when he does “Even the Rain” I make a mental note to INSIST to my next girlfriend that THAT is OUR song, even if she hates it. Though if she hates it she won’t be my next girlfriend because she is a cretin. A decent mix of Feddy classics, some new joints from his current album and even a stomping indie cover of Daft Punk’s “Get lucky” later and too soon 2 plus hours have flown by… I’m back out into the February drizzle, BUT I’ve got a spring in my step.
I won’t be starting going to church, but I might start trying to find ways to get this spiritually uplifted every week.
A great afternoon at Harrogate’s premier tabernacle of tunes! Footnote, but nevertheless worthy of mention: EXCELLENT Latte too!