There ain’t no party like.. TWO house parties!
Because I’m so ridiculously behind on blog posts, I’m going to combine an entry for two excellent house gigs – the first was hosted by the lovely Parry Clan and featured Morganella and Doozer McDooze doing their thing in an intimate and unplugged setting, the second was hosted by the equally lovely Fairish Clan and featured The Star Copiers and Nick Parker all amped up – along with a raucous open-mic finalé – I’m very lucky to have the opportunities to go to such awesome events!
So first up was Parry Towers. I’d arrived early and Lucy and Nick had laid on a mountain of food for the revelry, so after troughing and discovering the wonder of the Akinator phone game with Evan, eventually guests arrived and it was time to start getting set up. Morganella were up first in support guise – they’d had a quick rehearsal beforehand which they don’t get to do very often (at least not in the same place), but in no time found themselves a spot in the lounge to act as the performance area.
Kicking off with Black Horse and a Cherry Tree it sounded really good – my limited dalliances into singing have made me really appreciate the wonders of what a monitor does, so to perform fully acoustic is always impressive to my ears (well, if it’s in tune! And it was!). Self-penned track Daisies and Sunshine was up next and straight into Refuge and The Standing Stone of Onich to showcase their own EP tracks. They don’t get away without playing Weak these days, so that featured next followed by Photosynthesis which is one of Nick’s favourites.
Two new tracks for their performance canon finished up the set – The Likes of You and I is one of my favourite Levellers tracks and I’d no idea that’s what they were tackling until it kicked in. It was lovely, and to finish a more upbeat rendition of The Jam’s That’s Entertainment to round off a splendid set. With more songwriting taking place by the day hopefully there’ll be further recorded Morganella goodness in 2018 – so keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates (including a potential songwriting collaboration opportunity).
Doozer McDooze chose to play his set in the kitchen infront of the fridge (aka ‘The Brian Stone Stage’) and well, did what he does best – kicked off a raucous and engaging set, the great thing about this gig was that he did so to a bunch of people many of whom had never seen him play before. My notes are a bit sketchy on this (not sure why, I wasn’t drinking!) but Stepping Stones and Searching featured early in the set – Dooze can belt out his tunes without a mic that’s for sure!
Dreams was followed up with Let’s Not Forget Them and then Pirate Captain. Album title track Not Going Back to That had the room singing along soon enough, as did the In One Hand and Out the Other song (that may or may not be called that!). The dropped his tuning down for ‘the one that means I can apply for folk festivals’, then followed up with Help, and then I am the Worst Businessman the World has ever Seen which always makes me smile and feel a little bit sad!
Acapella Fame and Glory was up next, and quickly the set was rounding to a close with It’s Nice Down Here and finally the anthemic I Don’t Wanna Go Home where Morgan joined him on guitar for what was a rousing finalé to the evening’s live music. Or so I’d hoped – Morg’s had been busy learning Wish You Were Here which I’d agreed to sing with him despite being terrified by the prospect – I thought I’d got away with it when Morganella finished and Doozer started but hawk-eye Nick remembered so we ran through that – sounded awful to me, I’m glad people sang along, haha!
A fantastic evening with fantastic folk – with a long drive home ahead of me we made our excuses and legged it, hitting the motorways and arriving safely. So then if you fast-forward a week or so we had the pleasure of Nick Parker visiting Castle Fairish for the second time this year for a home gig – Nick’s probably up there this last year as one of my most seen performers, and I never tire of him be it in solo guise, with Ben on fiddle or in full band mode.
As at Parry Towers, a veritable feast was laid out for the revellers at Castle Fairish (including an AMAZING cake immortalising The Star Copiers) – and we got the evening underway with Emily taking to the stage with a guitar. Her first song was self-penned and I didn’t catch the title but it sounded lovely, her stage fright disappearing gradually with each passing moment. Hold On by Walk of the Earth was next – not a familiar song to me but Ella was merrily singing along. She finished a short set off with a rendition of Slow Motion Suicide along with Kev.
Next up were The Star Copiers – I can’t even tell you what our set as, Mark had written down a set list of sorts but we just kind of winged it a bit – with Dogfest looming it was a useful extra practice. Down Under definitely started things off, we definitely road-tested Sunday Girl and I’m pretty sure we played I Still Believe and Fifteen Years. Issac definitely joined us for Too Late with Kev on vocals, and I’m pretty sure there was a bit of Nights in White Satin, Tiny Ugly World and Mairi’s Wedding Part III. Your guess is as good as mine as to the order!
But of course we were really here to see Nick Parker, his set kicked off with Tyler telling some jokes – which was pretty funny to be fair! He kicked in with Departures with some excellent kazoo accompaniment from Shannon, and then into Down with the Yoof. Between each song he told us a fact or anecdote we might not otherwise have known about each song – I didn’t make a note of these, and it would feel wrong to document them as they were kind of ‘in the moment’ and part of the experience – so you’ll have to ask Nick next time you see him if you’re curious!
Es Tut Mir Leit had some excellent placard holding from the kids, whilst Nick turned the room into a male vs female choir for I Guess I’ll Never Know – which really should destroy such a beautiful song, but actually works really well! An Open Letter to my Human was dedicated to Louey the Beagle, and then The Conjuror was reluctantly pulled out in an acoustic setting at Sian’s insistence. Josh joined on his newly acquired cajón (or ‘Alan Fisher box’ as he calls it!) for I’ve Never Been to Dublin Before.
Another unusual UK live airing was Ode to Marburg – it’s a lovely song as the fondness he has for the place is tangible in the words and tone, it’s made me want to visit! Could we at Least Try was next before more guest slots were offered up with Ella and Emily providing backing vocals for Simple Song. With the set winding down Terry and June had some custom lyrics thrown in in tribute to hosts Kev and Julie, then Something Someone Said and Metaphor finished up a lovely intimate little gig. Just lovely.
Some open mic style carnage followed – Russ, Issac and Emily got up for a bit of Criminal Justice, Let it Go and Riverflow, soon enough Flinty was up for some awesome bluesy renditions including Faith by Wham! of all things to bluesify, and Ain’t No Sunshine. He’s got an amazing voice. Kev coerced myself and Mark to join him for Searching and then Wish You Were Here (which I’d assured Ella we weren’t doing, arf) – poor Mark was a few beers in to be playing that tricky finger picky intro – but gave it a good go!
Finally Emily was up again for Hey There Delilah, A Team and another go at Slow Motion Suicide to round off another excellent evening. Once again it was back in the car for me to drive home – this was a Thursday night after all and I had work in the morning! Stay tuned, next up I need to get on to Dogfest as I’ve got three gigs coming up this weekend so I really need to get that one written up to avoid building up a ma-hoo-sive backlog of stuff to be writing about!