Triple Album Launch: Homemade Lemonade, Ponies, The Existence Of Harvey Lord with Jo Gillot and Rollo

harveyHarvey Lord & Moll Baxter Photo by Richard Davies

Review by Kev McVeigh

On a night when three acts launched their new CDs and a fourth had her EP on sale too, you could forgive opening act Rollo if he felt slightly intimidated.  To his credit, and despite this being his first gig in over two years, he performed admirably.  His gentle acoustic songs providing a warm introduction for a night of great music.


This show was compered by James Knight, a role I have mixed feelings about.  I can understand the desire to fill the spaces between acts, but I also think there can be a need for space to allow people to absorb and digest what they have just heard prior to something else coming along.  This is no slight on James, he does what he does quite well.  His poetry, particularly that of alter ego toff William Ramsbottom, is well-constructed for performance and rendered effectively if unsubtle in its relentless innuendoes.


Jo Gillot certainly doesn’t lack subtlety.  Something I realised watching this set was how effortlessly she creates shade in her work.  Introspective lyrics are frequently delivered in the most catchy and chirpy melodies.  I doubt she’ll be able to leave ‘Bit Of Zen’ and especially ‘Spectacular’ out of her sets for a while, they are such strong songs, but the less-familiar material on show tonight demonstrated a similar level of craft and charm.  On top of which she produced an imaginative cover of Vampire Weekend’s ‘Bryn’ which showcased her guitar work and achieved the happy result of sounding homogenous with her own songs.


Tom Bramhall has a dark side too.  So self-effacing in conversation, when he digs deep for the primal howl of Ponies it remains a shock after several viewings.  Eschewing the stage to perform, sometimes unamplified, amidst the audience only adds to the intensity of his performance.  Songs from new album Ponies 2 demonstrate a distinctive aesthetic that takes something quite basic on one level and combines it with a complex emotional lyricism to powerful, imposing effect.


On a very hot night the cool grooves of The Existence Of Harvey Lord were just what was needed.  Remarkably featuring 10 musicians on the small Yorkie stage, Harvey’s psych-folk songs took on a jazz feel, the musicians flowing in and out behind his sweetly sonorous singing.  Delicate guitar work, haunting flutes, droning strings, and tempered percussion balanced perfectly in a lovely blissful melange.  One might have expected the whole ensemble to come together in waves and crescendos but Harvey also utilises space as well as anyone in his music. 


Homemade Lemonade then, began almost as the doomy counterpoint to Harvey’s beatific melodies.  Loops, drones and spiralling riffs with mantra-like vocals characterise much of  their live set.  Crashing waves of guitar under a chant of ‘I can walk on water’ (somehow reminiscent of Ponies whilst being so very different in form) give way to a bleak early-Factory Records sound updated with electronic effects.  Jo Gillot (performing her third set of the night after backing Harvey Lord earlier) added violin and vocals, reaching an impressive drawn out climax in the explosive ‘Bliss, Ostensibly.’ 

What a powerful way to start one of the most remarkable weekends of music Lancaster can have seen for a long, long time.


5 Responses

  1. whey, I concur, but I would…

  2. Top review, and an amazing night of music- well done all

  3. I keep trying to focus on how consistently brilliant the music was in order to overcome the trauma of witnessing James exposing more than his exemplary writing and performance skills. My support group “Victims of Full Moon All Knight” are helping but I fear that I may still be waking up screaming for months…

  4. aye, James Knight is a blessing in boat shoes.

    Rad as fcuk.

  5. Homemade Lemonade

    This is concentrated so you’ll need to add water when serving.

    – 12 lemons
    – 6 tablespoons sugar
    – 1 glass water
    – lemon slices and/or fresh mint leaves (to decorate)

    Heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved completely. Allow to cool.
    Squeeze the lemons. Combine the sugar-water with the lemon juice, and stir.
    Serve adding cold water and ice and garnish with lemon slices and/or fresh mint leaves.

    You can store in the fridge, in a hermetically sealed glass bottle.

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