Sunday 10 February 2013

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour: Single Launch

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour
The Cluny 2, Newcastle

Just over a year had passed since my last visit to The Cluny. I was back again two nights ago to see a very special event.

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour followed up the release of their fabulous single - Scarecrow - with a short tour of North East England. They chose The Cluny for the single's official launch event.

Beccy Owen provided support with her very unusual and quirky musical tales.

Beccy was joined by Matt Stalker for her final song (Matt has appeared here at Marsh Towers twice before: here and here).

Beccy Owen's website is currently under construction but will hopefully be available soon. I look forward to seeing her again and exploring her music. I've made the point before, but it's worth repeating: North East England has a lot of musical talent and a thriving gig scene. Get out there and enjoy it!

Immediately prior to Bridie and The Arbour appearing on the stage, we were treated to the premiere of the video for Scarecrow. It's a wonderful piece of work and it will be posted here tomorrow.

As the applause and cheers threatened to lift the roof (the venue was jam-packed - completely sold out some time before the night) the quartet took to the stage and launched into their first song, a particularly strong rendition of Please Forgive Me My Human Ways, which ultimately segued very nicely into Dim Man. It was a typically powerful opening, playing to the strengths of Bridie's vocal dexterity.

Given the celebratory nature of the event, there was an increased amount of between-song jovial banter and a plethora of thanks to various people who have helped them on their remarkable journey.

This snippet, from Bridie, is a typical example: ''It's really lovely that you're here tonight, especially considering that Roy Chubby Brown is playing at the City Hall. I was concerned when I found out...that it was going to splinter my audience.''

Later on there was talk of expanding the range of Arbour merchandise, and that they were as yet undecided whether to go to down the ''practical'' or ''luxurious'' route, with two mooted sample items: ''a big old bag of salt grit with The Arbour written on the side'' and ''tiaras''. The audience, put on the spot during a spontaneous bout of informative consumer feedback, betrayed their North Eastern roots with an (almost) unanimous vote for the former, although the solitary, contrary voice of ''Andrew'' bravely piped up in favour of the latter.

Bitter Lullabies was next, closely followed by We Talked Again, which utilised another Arbour trademark - the belleplates.

The Scarecrow itself appeared next. It works very well played 'live' and represents an important addition to their repertoire.

Following Promises Are Broken, a new song appeared: Peace. Hopefully we are already seeing material which will soon form the nucleus of a new album. After New Skin (which ''once sent a man to sleep when we played it in Brighton'') and Crying Beast (a metaphor for unsolicited and invasive political literature) it was already time for ''final'' song - All You Love Is All You Are (the other song on the Scarecrow single) For the Arbour, that left just the encore of Mucky. 

Time had once again slipped by far too quickly, although Bridie remained - solo, on the stage - for one final number. With Bridie's mother in the audience, the occasion was right for a cover of one her favourite songs - The Ballad of Lucy Jordan (written by Shel Silverstein and originally recorded by Dr. Hook).

And thus ended another fine evening.

Keep up to date with the latest Bridie Jackson and The Arbour news over at their official website and don't forget to tune in to Marsh Towers tomorrow for the video of Scarecrow.

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