Sebastian Plano – Beacon Foyer, Bristol

Monday 11th October, 2021

It would have to be someone very special to tempt me out on a night when my boy is with me, I’ve never left him home alone and gone out for an evening before. He is nearly 15 but it has been just the two of us for 12 of those years and we are both, well, not quite like other people, so we are closer than most mothers and teenage sons. Close enough for him to understand what music means to me and that sometimes Mum’s need to escape a little bit. He encouraged me to go and not just so he could eat cereal and biscuits whilst playing online games with his mates, because he does that when I’m there.

I am still nervous about going out when people don’t wear masks and social distancing has gone out of the window. But I know the Beacon and its staff, I knew they would keep air flow moving and that they would help me if I began to panic. I also knew the foyer wasn’t likely to be busy, a Monday night, for a bit of a niche act, so I would be able to distance myself from others easily. That was true, I found a spot at the end of a row, with no one next to me or in directly in front, but still with a cracking view of the stage, near gig goer extroadinaire and friend, Jeff. Seeing a friendly face and being able to talk with someone who just gets it made all the difference. We all need to feel we belong and Jeff and I both belong in and with live music.

The last time I saw Sebastian Plano play here was a transcendental experience, at the end of which I could only stammer “I have no words” to Sebastian and he replied, hugging me, “that is why we have music.” It was one of those special moments between two people who understand each others language – music. He could read my response without words. His music had transported me and taken me not only out of myself, but out of reality itself for an hour. That is something magical and special and I wish all the world could feel it like I can. That is how special an artist has to be for me to leave my son home alone.

Support was from Tom Adams, who has a fine voice on him and a guitar style that reminded me of 80’s Lanois and Jeff of Jeff Buckley. Reaching falsetto notes with gentle, meloncholic songs and a slowcial media approach he is an artist worth keeping an ear out for.

Sebastian. Oh. He is all the brilliant words you can think of and then some. Innovative, exciting, creative, charismatic, charming and talented. A cellist who stands to play. Who has effects, keys, electronics on his cello. Who sings through the strings. Who dances with his instrument and makes it look like he is bonded to it. You know those musicians who just feel like they belong in total harmony with what they play, that they were born together and should never be parted? He’s one of them. Sensuous, gentle but also startling sounds appear from bow, fingers, effects, loops and man, all in harmony. Together transporting us all away from reality and into other realms. He wrote his latest album, Save Me Not, in lockdown as a way to explain/escape into and away from worlds. His music exists in the space between. In the liminal limits of time, space and imagination. In the realm of the divine. In the spaces I exist. It is beauty made sound. It is extraordinary and very powerful.

The sound and lighting crew were on super form, white stars shone across the stage, shafts of light swam through Sebastian’s hair and everything sounded exactly as it should. It helped me become completely lost in the music, swimming in the air, gasping with joy and wonder at all the beauty I could see, hear and feel. When you can close your eyes and see music dancing in shapes and colours it is the most beautiful thing in the world. Sebastian’s music takes me there. Live it is so much more powerful, the resonance of strings sets my synapses on fire like almost nothing else. I would describe it as a trance, but it is so much more powerful than that, it’s like being taken into space, seeing the entire cosmos in one go. It is having your soul soar so far up and away that you can see all the beauty and possibility and hope there is in the universe. Is is very, very powerful. Heady, intoxicating, incredible.

It took me some time to come back down to earth at the end, I sat speechless, wiping away tears for a few minutes. I’m glad I waited because I got to see and hug Sebastian again (physical contact with adults is rare in my world) and tell him that I think he is the Willy Wonka of cello playing. He is. I’ve never before or since seen or hear a cello played the way he does. And I cannot be alone in wanting to be that cello.

Last time hadn’t been a fluke or a one off, Sebastian Plano live really is special. On record he’s pretty good too, so stream, listen and buy his music. Next time he tours the UK you’ll find me wherever he plays, he is one I will never miss because the way his music makes me feel is too special. Thank you Sebastian for coming back to Bristol and for your music. While it exists I have a home.

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