Haven't been to the Fox and Newt for twenty five year. It was weird, we sat in the same seats, three of us remembering exactly who else was there, what they said and where else we went. As if twenty five years ago was last month, freaky.
John Murry, in black leather jacket and Geordie style black beret was outside, in the dark under the street lights chatting whilst we had a brace of very acceptable pubs own brew inside. £2.60 for those who are interested . There's a small room upstairs that has housed small acts before but it looks like they are trying to use it more. They should, its attic style layout gives it a great intimacy but also floor space for standing and seating. 'twas good to see my old kop neighbour the Kaiser chef there who like me had sacrificed the joy of a Tuesday night game for the gig but unlike our old friend Foo, also a John Murry fan who chose the game. Butts was also otherwise engaged.
John was seated on stage with cutaway amplified acoustic guitar accompanied by an electric semi acoustic player also seated to his right. He was really good, filling with subtle atmospheric phrases and notes creating a crisp texture to the duo's low key sound.
John has an almost undecipherable deep mumble when chatting between songs that demands concentrated attention. It adds to the reverence and dark drama of the songs. The set actually starts with a few classic covers and this is one of his strengths. He gets under a song and mixes it with his own viscous interpretation. Not without a dry humour either as he self effacingly told how this "next song" was described to him as genius by one critic.
The set was a good mix of old, new borrowed and blue. The new songs sounded brilliant, in the same mould as the awesome Graceless Age album and i can't wait to hear more.
I've seen the lad three times now and he has played the Graceless Age songs three different ways. He's a genuine troubadour, last night he caressed them out with a languid lushness. The simple but intriguing deep acoustic guitar foundation anchoring them in a rising tide of dynamic.
He wasn't going to play Little Coloured Balloons. Some women at the front pleaded with him to sing it I don't think they understood the song or his connection with it at all. Eventually they coaxed it out of him and sang along with the key lines. It was astonishing in its wrongness. "i wish i died there" sang John instead of "should have" . Maybe slight forgetfulness, maybe not.
More slurry banter and apologies for having to tune up accompanied his pronouncement that he is really a drummer and that is what he is going to be doing. One can only hope he is joshing here and the rest of the set consolidated that hope. It was full of craft and structure layered with subtle vocal textures that told captivating stories. A genuine Songsmith.
John Murry is a fabulous talent and i don't understand why he isn't huge. Our gain though because to see him in small venues like this is idyllic.