Not even the threat of heavy rain could dampen the spirits of Worthing’s music lovers who ventured out to St Paul’s for yet another wonderful evening of beautiful, melancholic songs delivered with passion and skill by a duo who have realised that sometimes it is the spaces in a song that really count.
In an era of talent show tat and quick buck mania, there are still artists who have the chops and the ability to engage with your emotions and lift your spirits.
Tell your friends, St Paul’s is fast becoming a leading venue for such talented songwriters and performers who appreciate the intimate nature of the room and feed on the interaction with the audience.
There was a fantastic turn out to see, former House of Love guitarist Terry Bickers and Adorable vocalist/guitarist Pete Fij debut songs from their new album “We are Millionaires“, in fact within 15 minutes of the doors opening the room was almost full
On the dot of 8pm, Bradley the Busker took the stage, dressed as if he had just strolled off the beach, he opened with the melodic “Headstrong” which reminded me of early Stephen Stills, with a west coast swagger and a killer hook. Bradley is an amazing guitarist and it is hard to believe that is just over a year since he won the Sussex open Mic competition, he writes thoughtful, intelligent songs with a hint of James Taylor and the chordal structure of Susan Vega. Engaging the audience across a half hour set with songs such as “Sisters and Brothers” and an incredible closing instrumental with slaps, harmonics, hammer-on neck runs and doubling melodies, are you listening Ed Sheeran, you don’t need a loop pedal when you have this ability.
After a quick break the lights dimmed and the expectant murmur from the now full room abated, Terry and Pete took the stage, Terry in a Roy Rogers Shirt and Pete in “sopranos chic” with black shirt and cream leather jacket.
Given the acoustic nature of the set the duo chose to perform sitting down, which had the effect of drawing the audience in even closer. Opening with the first track from the new album ” Let’s get lost together” followed by ” Loves going to get you”, the mellow baritone of Pete’s voice, chimed with the sparse and considered runs of Terry’s sublime guitar playing, both haunting and thrilling at the same time.
Engaging with the audience throughout the gig, Pete let slip that in the list of musicians bucket list achievements, he had accepted that he will probably never appear on Top of the Pops (for two good reasons) but that he would love to write a Bond theme, introducing the Barryesque “If the World is all we have”, Pete confessed, that he had once submitted this song as a potential Eurovision entry losing out to Andrew LLoyd Webber. This aching song of love and loss is at once fresh and yet deeply rooted in the 1960’s and conjures up images of the original “Randall and Hopkirk” or “Tales of the unexpected”.
A quick dip into the duos previous album Broken Heart Surgery with the Richard Hawley like “Sound of Love” and the ironic list song “Queen of Stuff” with the great line ” It’s surprising to see how much of a life you can fit, into the back of a van.. with man…” Then back to the new album for the bewitching “Waking up” with a hypnotic guitar line that George Harrison would have been proud to claim and the end of love self-delusion of “Over you”
All through the set, Pete’s haunting vocals are beautifully underscored by the restrain and control of Terry’s guitar, always just on the edge of kicking loose, building the tension, so that when he does let fly it soars across the audience in a spiraling release.
Introducing ” You are the one”, Pete tells us how he met Terry standing in Greggs ” one day there will be a blue plaque there”, and the rest is history as they say.
Just before the closer, “We are Millionaires” the duo tell us that ” Brighton will have to go some to match this Gig” One last thank you and they leave the stage to resounding applause.
After a very short absence from the stage ” they return Pete laughing “It’s odd, encores, you don’t know how long to leave it” and the pair bring the night to an end with a great version of “I fought the Law”
St Paul’s is such a great venue, intimate, welcoming with fantastic sound and a really good bar, if you haven’t been there yet, then why not.
Catch Pete and Terry on their tour and why not have a listen to the new album ” We are Millionaires”, it’s well worth the listen: youtube.com/watch?v=uUNRVXezyOI