24 May 2010
Peter Hammill, founder member of Van der Graaf Generator (a cult progressive rock act) doesn't tour much but a rare outing brought him to my favourite venue as part of a small number of solo dates.
The music of Peter Hammill is never less than challenging. It is marked by an intensity of subject matter and performance which demand the listener's attention. Death, break-ups and other matters of emotional turmoil are usually well to the fore.
Starting with 'Don't Tell Me', the first part of the show saw him on the piano. Around the half-way stage he switched to the acoustic guitar for some softer numbers, such as 'I Will Find You' and 'The Birds'.
Then it was back to the piano for the remainder of the set, which included various songs from his most recent CD, 'Thin Air', including 'The Mercy'.
The spell of intensity was briefly broken by a member of the audience asking if '...he ever got his leather jacket back'. Peter Hammill quickly related the tale of his jacket being stolen in Newcastle from a touring car many years ago, but stressed that he doesn't hold anything against the region (even though he never did get in back).
Then it was back to the show - 'Enough of this raconteurship!'
He played for about 90 minutes, without a break. The encore was a single song on the acoustic guitar.
I enjoyed the show and can recommend his music to anyone whose tastes include 'dark' and 'disturbed'!
Here's a couple of snaps from the evening. The quality is not so high but it was very dark in Hall 2!
For more information on Peter Hammill, please visit his official site: