Re: Rebecca Downes
Sedgefield Manor House - Dec 1st
Can’t help but feel that it must have been a a daunting experience, to be seemingly pinned to the fireplace wall and a packed room between you (as the band) and the exits… However, this doesn’t take 2 things into account; firstly, the band in question was Rebecca Downes backed as ever by Steve Birkett and with added Tara Simms in a stripped down, semi-acoustic show. And secondly, this is County Durham which has become a second-home for Rebecca (three gigs in the area this year…) so there was a lot of love in the room for this intimate and near exclusive show. In fact, the band themselves described the set up as something of a “love-in”.
So as well as being acoustic, the show had another slightly unusual aspect to it as in the run up, ticket holders were invited to submit questions to Rebecca, Steve & Tara which were put to them between batches of songs, revieling some interesting insights behind the stage personas, back-stage shenanigans and the workings of a band, on the road and in the studio.
And so to the music: stripped down of any backline or keyboards the backing may have been, still managing 7 guitars between them though; but Rebecca, Steve & Tara brought their “A” game along, starting the evening with a powerful one-two of Back To The Start & Night Train. before settling back and dusting off some little gems from the very first Real Life EP, such as Breaking Your Heart and You Don’t Know and underplayed gold from the Back To The Start album such as Little Girl. Not only were they plundering the treasure chest but the intimacy of the evening allowed Rebecca to step away from the showcase Etta James songbook to tease the audience with a slightly left-field Pink cover - One That Got Away and a very special rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me. It was interesting after hearing Rebecca field the question about other artist influences and how eclectic her choice were, as in a couple, slightly jazzy numbers, I was hearing Peggy Lee coming through. if that wasn't enough, at the end we got an impromptu cover of Hallelujah, probably one of the best covers of the song I've heard.
Such a great set throughout the evening’s performance, a veritable career showcase as we were also treated to a couple of brand new numbers from the next album (due 2019) as well as the rarer covers. It didn’t so much show where Rebecca and Steve have come from and heading to as songwriters as much as it showed the great connection they share as a writing/performing team and adding Tara to the mix, that’s like ice in the Gin &Tonic...
This sort of partnership, along with a driving work ethic goes to show how and why Rebecca & the band have risen through the ranks comparatively quickly. You can only hope that the opportunity to kick back and do such a relaxed show, among friends, was as much a treat for the band as it surely was for the audience. (Though I bet they put a load of sweat into rehearsing for it….)
Back To The Start - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8EOC21wMRI
You Don't Know / One That Got Away (cover) / Back To The Start - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ4RWiOyesk
Little Girl / It's That Easy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2AixjryjKU
Believe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE4ZGqRbPqY
Hallejulah (cover) (live) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdXUHiB59I