A Blues Habit

Kara Grainger at The Convent Club, Stroud
3rd May 2015
Review by Liz Aiken

During her recent UK tour, California-based Kara Grainger played The Convent Club in Stroud. The gig was professionally recorded and streamed live on the venue's media partner's website. Liz Aiken (Bluesdoodles.com) took advantage of this service and watched the gig in the comfort of her own home. Here's her review of the show.
Well, the process was easy. Bought my ticket online, received confirmation, followed the link at the allotted time, then sat back to enjoy the show.

The backdrop of The Convent Club is stunning, even in your own home. You may miss out on the panoramic view as your gaze moves around the venue, but you can certainly feel the anticipation of the audience waiting for the evening's performance to begin.

Matt, co-owner of The Convent, comes on and chats, welcoming the live audience and everyone live streaming the gig in their own homes.

Kara Grainger's touring band is augmented for one night only by Paddy Milner on keyboards and grand piano. Jules Fothergill is on electric guitars, Damon Sawyer on drums, and bassist Andy Tolman completes the lineup.

L to R - Paddy Milner, Andy Tolman, Damon Sawyer, Kara Grainge & Jules Fothergill
                                                                                                 Photo: Nikoletta Monyok
The show opens with Mercury Blues, on which Paddy Milner takes a solo. This is followed by Jules's electric blues guitar acting as a dirty counterpoint to Kara's subtle slide. Then Paddy joins the party and we have a blues picnic with Kara singing Come On Into Our Kitchen, her charisma and warm smile shining through. 

Her guitar has a harmonious depth of musical tone that makes the lyrics sparkle, and you just want to sit back and enjoy the company of top-notch musicians in your own home.

Lost in You, from her latest album Shiver and Sigh, shows off Kara's soft and sultry vocals, while her guitar playing is smooth and stylish. Paddy's stellar skills on the keyboard adds a layer of sound. This is funky blues that is fun to listen to.

Kara understands the musical idiom that is blues, and Little Pack of Lies has some blistering slide guitar, with her rhythm section responding with drum solo and some funky bass. I’m Not Ready is a relatively new song recently added to Kara’s catalogue, while Whipping Post allowes Jules to showcase the power of his guitar prowess on the Gibson. Kara’s vocal strips back the lyrics to the bone, and so full of quivering emotions that I feel like I'm dying.

Finishing the set with Sky Is Falling (the first blues song she ever wrote), the finale concludes with Paddy putting in a blistering solo on the grand piano, playing with such dexterity, perfect pitch and tone.

Of course that was not the last. We had the encore, the cherry on top of a musically rich cake.

Kara's playing was full of bravura, poise and desire. Her music takes the essence of blues, mixed with roots and adds a generous helping of soul, with a topping of funk when needed. Never over-complicating the melody; never a cascade of unnecessary notes; she keeps her lyrics central to the performance. The result is disarmingly complex, yet retains its simplicity; a wondrous act to hear live.

Another great blues artist, this Australian guitarist, songwriter and singer certainly can entertain. The early May skies is grey with summer seemingly a long way off, but when she plays the “blues”, your spirits are lifted by the quality of the musicianship.

A big thank you to Matt & Charlotte for a great concept - to be able to stream a gig live on the web from The Convent Club in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Check it out on Netgig. It's simple to use – just follow the LINK – it is the next best thing to seeing music live at The Convent Club.

To purchase tickets and watch the full gig, go to Kara Grainger @ The Convent

For further reviews by Liz Aiken, visit her blog at www.bluesdoodles.com

If you would like to book Kara Grainger at your club or venue when she next visits the UK, email John Finn at johnfinnmusic@hotmail.com

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