White House: Ashington 18-2-19
So, if anyone’s been wondering where all the reviews of shows are, well, truth is, I’m having a bit of what you might call a “gap” year. I’m stepping back for a bit from the familiar faces and re-charging myself with the new and genre defying rather than defining. One such came round last night at the slightly out-the-way White House in Ashington (no “W” note..) in the form of Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer/all-round-nice-guy Ariel Posen.
Twelve months; Hell; even six months ago I’d have looked at you and said “Who?” too, but then I got hooked on things Bros Landreth for who Posen is a “live” sideman fixture - much like Earl Slick or Mick Ronson were for Bowie at various stages and these are comparisons I’ve considered carefully as Ariel is no mere “guitar-for-hire” as was soon apparent last night, with the depth & sensitivity of his self-penned songs. Thoughtfully, these were separated into 3 distinct categories; the sad ones; the new ones - which were still sad ones and the one happy one! Doesn’t quite explain how he categorised the cover in the 90 minute set, a working of Billy Preston’s Nothing For Nothing though it did go to showcase the dynamic technique he has on guitar.
Concentrating on the craft of songwriter, rather than guitar hero it was interesting in watching how Ariel constructed his feature solos, not fluid or indulgent but for me more reminiscent of Jeff Beck in the way he’d fire out seemingly random searing staccato bursts which he then manipulated and twisted, like a sonic Calder mobile into an aurally pleasing and technically astounding form.
The set was focussed on the debut solo album, How Long and each track performed in such a way as it was apparent this album has been a long-time labour of love and even as a life-long musician, Ariel is seizing the opportunity to step forward and project this, fine guitar work and a good and compelling voice as well as recruiting a strong backline from his adopted home in Ireland. The time really did seem to fly over at the end of the main set, so it was no surprise that the full room, packed to standing room only (on a MONDAY!) were cheering for an encore (the polite Canadian influence clearly rubbing off - no “beer-glass bongos"here), and so it was with a nod to the Irish home that the chosen cover was John Martyn’s Angelina which fitted so well with the previous set you’d question who wrote what…
This wasn’t Ariel Posen’s first visit to Ashington, he was there last summer and apparently this return was a priority for this tour. from the mutual love in the room, you can see why, and why he’ll be back again and so will the majority of the audience. Pleased to see that Tilerman and I weren’t the only ones flying the flag for Durham in the Wansbeck region; our mate Gary Grainger was in attendance as well Ian B, a Hartlepool regular among the familiar faces; kind of makes you feel part of an exclusive club.
Must also give an approving nod to the support for the evening, singer/songwriter Joe Patrick Devitt who crossed several time-zones and large expanses of frozen tundra (from Morpeth) to deliver an engaging 40 min acoustic set of self-penned numbers from his soon-to-be-delivered solo album.
Feb 22 Fri The Causeway Hall - Tonbridge, United Kingdom
Feb 24 Sun The Borderline - London, United Kingdom
Feb 25 Mon Komedia Brighton - Brighton, United Kingdom
Feb 26 Tue The Comrades Club - Coulsdon, United Kingdom
Feb 28 Thu The Flowerpot - Derby, United Kingdom
Mar 7 Thu Coughlans Bar - Cork, Ireland
Mar 10 Sun The Sugar Club - Dublin 2, Ireland
Apr 6 Sat Ards Guitar Festival - Belfast, United Kingdom
Apr 27 Sat The Hotel Café - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Apr 29 Mon Strum Guitars - Portland, OR, United States
May 1 Wed Layman Drug Company - Nashville, TN, United States
May 2 Thu Midwood Guitar Studio - Charlotte, NC, United States
May 4 Sat Blind Willie McTell Festival - Thomson, GA, United States
May 6 Mon Rockwood Music Hall - New York, NY, United States
May 9 Thu Saxon Pub - Austin, TX, United States
May 10 Fri The Guitar Sanctuary - Mckinney, TX, United States
PS - if you’ve got a couple of hours, or you can whizz thru, look at the company this guy keeps…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGDWMtjKgbs
All those who believe in psychokenesis raise my hand........