Friday, 1 July 2011

Gig Review 'Melanie'

Review of 'Melanie'
Venue: Ronnie Scotts Jazz Bar: London, Soho (upstairs bar)
Date: Wednesday 28th June 2011
Tour Title: Summer of 71

'Melanie' was the soundtrack of my childhood. Melanie Safka's folksy, American soft rock music, always reminds me of hazy sunlight, lupin flowers and my mother as a young woman.
Melanie was one of the iconic sounds and faces of the 70's music scene. Her music history is awesome; friends with Hendrix, Dylan and Morrison (to mention just a few) fellow icons, she became one of the 'beautiful' people of the whole folk / rock movement - she still is.
Most people my age might only know Melanie because of the song 'Ruby Tuesday', made infamous by 'The Rolling Stones'. Quite frankly, this is a tragedy - it was hers. Melanie's songs are exquisite, profound, moving and very, very cool. And I would love to introduce a younger audience to her work - if you're really digging Mumford & Sons - then give her a go.

This wasn't the first time that I had seen Melanie. Last year I went with Mum to see her at Camden Jazz Cafe and that gig had been amazing. However the intimate 'audience' with Melanie at Ronnie Scott's this wednesday was a 'lifetime moment'.

Melanie played at Glastonbury last weekend and hadn't originally intended on playing any other venues. However, just over two weeks ago on the official fansite a notice appeared about her doing a round of small, intimate gigs before she headed back to the States.

When we arrived at the bar to see that there were only 30 seats and standing for another 30, we couldn't believe it. Mum and I sat on a table (one of only 6) at the front, six foot away from the microphone. By the time she arrived, I realised we were going to be sharing in something extraordinarily special.

In such an intimate space, it soon ended up that everyone was talking to each other about their excitment and experiences of their personal 'Melanie' history. When she walked through the bar, she greeted many of them as 'old friends'.

Just as last time, she was accompanied by Beau, her youngest son - and an incredible musician. They have an amazing, almost symbiotic relationship - either one of them just has to strike a chord and the other knows what is playing.

There was no set list and it was even more, deliciously shambolic and down to earth as last time. Between each song we were asked which song we'd like her to play. It was like heaven for a fan. The song I requested was 'Candles in the Rain' which she played as her finale. But I have to say the most beautiful song she played was 'Left Over Wine'.

Melanie is unique: she is her own person. She swigs mouthfuls of Tequilla between songs - often has outwardly expressed, internal monolgues, forgets what she is saying BUT - as soon as she strums the guittar and starts singing, it is one of the most beautiful things you could ever experience.

Her official website:

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