Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Autumnal delights, before days under canvas begin

Samhain passed fairly quietly Frome this year: blustering storms cancelled the town fireworks and hallowe'en tricks and treats seemed muted, almost as if the punctured national build-up to October 31st left us unsure whether to celebrate or shudder. The week started extremely well however, with a superb Poetry Cafe at the Garden Cafe featuring delightful Stephen Payne as guest and Jo Butts, 2019 Festival Poet Laureate, re-sharing her winning poem.
Stephen's set featured quirky elegiac poems, arriving gently but with hi-impact afterglow -I especially loved the conga rhythm in the poem about eight siblings whose non-survival matched their order of arrival... Our nineteen (yes, 19!) superb open-mic poets offered an entertaining & engrossing variety of themes and styles, from John Christopher Woods' satiric ode to the Bullington Boys (to the tune of Cambeltown Loch) to Kat Jones' Tempest-ic life-story-style poem.  I was too enthralled to take any photos, but here's a picture of Stephen Payne somewhere else, and the flyer for our next event: the Festive Poetry Cafe (on December 9th will be an all-Open Mic event with lots of !!!presents!!!

Great music this week too: Root Sessions at the Grain Bar gave us Light Garden, billed as 'genre-defying' and mostly  sounding more funky than folksy, apart from the harmonic overtone singing which is a speciality they also teach. Peter Burns, supporting solo with an impressive loop system, included several of his own songs in his set, including a deeply personal one about his hometown, Belfast, called ironically The Riches of America - link here.

On Friday, an evening with the impossible-to-overpraise Pete Gage Band ensured The Cornerhouse was full, with dancing despite the crush. Pete's band set also included sway-slow numbers like their unforgettable of Motherless Child and - my favourite - Evening - the versions in those 2 links are recorded at other events, but give an idea of Pete's powerful versions of these classics.

Paul Kirtley brought another Bare to the Bones music event to the Artisan, featuring popular local country & blues band Hello Hopeville. His house band, the We Don't Scare Easy crew, focus on singalong enjoyment - Have You Ever Seen the Rain, and All Along the Watchtower are popular standards - with great impro jamming too.

Concluding the week's evening gigs, here's a glimpse of the lively Jazz Jam in the Cornerhouse, a relaxed atmosphere for musicians of any jazz-experience - and always with some great pro.s!

This Sunday being the first one of November, the streets of Frome were filled for the penultimate independent market of the year. 'More than a Market' is tagline of the Frome Independent and on a sunny winter's day it can seem more like party, as the queues for the street food and pop-up bars aren't as long as in summer yet it's mild enough for strolling and enjoying the bands and buskers. This view from the other side of the river shows the tip of the cross-town spread of an event that boasts over 80,000 visitors annually (I put all that in just because I like the autumny image) Here's a few of the music-makers this time - the band onstage is the Decades but I don't know the soloist and didn't ask either the busker on Stony Street corner or the DJ in Ramshack Barbers - let me know if you know and this will be amended! Have a happy November, all.

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