Laura Gibson & Karl Blau. The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol.
Friends recommended Laura Gibson, but I’d not heard her music. The most visited venue of 40 gigs.
August can be slim pickings for gigs, outside of festivals, so this gig was picked on the date/venue/cost as much as the recommendation of friends. I’ve yet to see anything in the Lantern that I haven’t enjoyed, however strange and I’ve wanted to support female artists which is why I found myself on a random Thursday night in the middle of August at this gig.
It was a double header, with a support, so for less than £15 to get 2 full sets is pretty excellent value.
The support was from Parker Millsap and his band. Playing what I have to call old time rock n roll, rhythm n blues and playing it well. It was fun, rocking and got me dancing. Exactly the job of a support band.
Laura Gibson was the first of the joint headliners. On her own. All I knew was that she was a singer/songwriter. Those I like. Especially ones playing acoustic guitar. So it won’t surprise you much to learn that I liked her. Very much. What surprised me was her voice. Strong, yet vulnerable all at once. It was quite enchanting. Melancholic, mournful & melodic.
Our other headliner, Karl Blau was last up. Some performers just have an easy charm about them, and Karl is one of those. He deviated from the set list, got carried away and forgot the time, started telling the story of the wrong song. If Peel playing records at the wrong speed charmed you, you’ll like Karl Blau.
He has a rich, warm, deep voice which he marries with blues guitar and a country sound. All of which are things I like, blended together and with the lap steel guitar (I’ve no idea why I love the sounds of it so much, I just do) and solid bass back up, you had the makings of a really fabulous sound. It took me a few songs to engage with the sound, but once I was hooked that was it, I loved the rest of the set. I was swaying, nodding, tapping me foot and there may have even been a few tears. They closed with To Love Somebody and it was gorgeous.
I’ve been on some sonic adventures with 40 gigs. Tonight was a much more standard gig. Actual instraments, actual bands, beautiful voices. Back in the Lantern, a venue I’ve come to love very much indeed over the past months. It was good to be back there and back with less ‘out there’ music. It was almost like a mini refresh and reboot for the project.
29 down. 11 to go.