Gig review – Access All Areas 2: for ‘The Bridge Homelessness to Hope’ at Duffy’s Bar, Sunday 21st November 2021

GU-RU at Access All Areas 2. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

with Kevin Hewick, Cathi Rae, Mike Sole, Sally Hossack and The Dream Band, Stanley Iyanu, JJ Lovegrove, Leonie and Teagan, Gu-Ru and Luke Broughton

This afternoon’s concert was organised in support of The Bridge Homelessness to Hope by Luke Broughton. The Bridge is a Leicester project that provides support to homeless people.

Taking place at Duffy’s Bar in Pocklingtons Walk, it was an afternoon (13:00-21:00) of quite remarkable music and spoken word performances.

The complete programme for the day included music by Kevin Hewick, Mike Sole, Sally Hossack, Gu-Ru and Luke Broughton and spoken word performances by Cathi Rae, Stanley Iyanu and others.

Luke Broughton did a wonderful job of collecting together these celebrated artists for one afternoon. Quite an achievement that attracted a sizeable audience.

The concert was opened by the celebrated singer Kevin Hewick. One of the elder statesmen of the local music scene, Kevin gave an engaging and entertaining set of his songs and reminiscences from his music experience going back many years. As always, Kevin’s songs provided much poetry and atmosphere. It was an outstanding performance by one of Leicester’s most celebrated musicians.

Kevin Hewick. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

In between his songs, Kevin delighted the audience with his anecdotes and recollections. His set ended with his song ‘Billion Pebble Beach’ from his album ‘Touching Stones, Tasting Rain’, released in 2016. Needless to say, Kevin’s performance drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Cathi Rae gave a recitation of her poems. Some of them were about the experience of being homeless, others centred on social issues but all were insightful and inspiring and full of impactful ideas. As a poet myself, I found her work gave many well-crafted phrases bearing surprising ideas.

Cathy Rae. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Seeing Mike Sole again was rewarding; recent appearances in Leicester saw him playing with several other top-class musicians but today he was at the piano keyboard as a solo artist. His set of jazz numbers showed astonishing virtuosity including one piece by the American composer Jerome Kern.

Mike Sole. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Even though he sounded like a pianist with classical training, Mike said he had largely taught himself to play. His recent appearance as part of the trio called ‘Pianorama’ was quite an amazing musical event. Another member of that trio was Lee Spreadbury who later appeared on stage with Gu-Ru.

Sally Hossack sang a selection of songs with her instrumental accompanist Howard Smith. Sally has been performing for many years and her songs are always full of atmosphere.

See Sally’s performance of Two at the gig.

Sally Hossack. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Spoken word artist Stanley Iyanu presented some of his poems and delighted the audience with them.

Stanley Iyanu. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Kevin Gaughan writes:

Alternating between the poems and the music, the hauntingly beautiful music of JJ Lovegrove followed next. Atmospheric vocals crafted around the beautifully mellow keyboards resulted in a wonderful performance by this young Leicester-based musician, ending with ‘things Only THE daRk knows’, the title track from her latest EP (buy the EP here), her short (thirty minute) performance left me yearning for more and looking forward to seeing her again.

JJ Lovegrove. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Leonie, with her soft vocals and wonderful loop-effects were next which, again, was something different and rather lovely to entertain the ears – using the loop pedal to great affect, it made her sound as though she was accompanied by a choir with amazing harmonies! Her performance ended with a spoken word section where Teagan read some poetry backed up by Leonie’s voice providing a wonderful melodic backdrop to Teagan’s words.

Leonie and Teagan. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Providing some electro-psychedelic funk to the afternoon’s proceedings were GU_RU. In contrast to the rest of the performances, GU-RU cranked up the volume and spiced up the afternoon/early evening with their energy and keyboard-playing antics, putting in a lively performance – a great contrast to have in the line-up.

GU-RU. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Last, but most definitely not least, was the performance from the organiser himself – the great Luke Broughton – somehow mustering up the energy after what must have been a long day, Luke’s beautiful vocals and unusual style was a great way to finish off today’s magical, mystical and rather wonderful musical journey.

Luke Broughton. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Combining musical acts with spoken word performances added a valuable additional dimension to the whole show.

It had been quite some time since I was last at Duffy’s bar. Now, the stage is where the bar used to be in the same room but now nearer to the entrance. A useful change making is easier to see the stage and providing more space than the previous layout.

This was a well-organised show and considerable credit is due to Luke for putting it together.

A total of £1300 was raised for The Bridge Homelessness to Hope .

See our review for the first Access all Areas gig.

Reviewed by Trevor Locke and Kevin Gaughan who also did the photography.

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