Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Pete Roe @ Brighton The Hope

Pete Roe is certainly no stranger to gigs. Having acted as roadie and support act for Mumford and Sons, as well as spending time playing piano in Laura Marling’s band, he knows his way round both the not-quite-as-new-as-it-used-to-be-when-it-was-just-new-folk scene, as well as the touring circuit. Maybe his familiarity with playing live, albeit under the auspices of others, gives reason for his performance being so assured, even if this date upstairs at Brighton’s Hope is the first night of his UK tour,

Roe may look the stereotypical folk minstrel with beard, cap and acoustic guitar, but many of the songs he sings have a greater / Americana influence. Bird on the Wing for example has a soft rootsy influence straight out of Nashville. The closing Devil’s Dancefloor, complete with the addition of a saw to the instrumentation and its “glory, glory Hallelujah,” chorus evokes a nostalgic 70’s feel with its casual warmth, strumming and twanging.

Each member of his band brings something extra to the show. A sophisticated and serious cellist, an expressive and lively double bass player, a guitarist in cap, white tee-shirt and jeans who looks like an ex-indie rocker who has found a more humble side and a drummer who despite looking like his day job may be throwing drunkards out of Chicago Rock Cafe or The Walkabout provides meticulously delicate rhythms to the songs. It all mixes to create a gracious, pleasant sound, that whilst hardly likely to take him into the commercial environs of his compatriots Ms Marling and Mr Mumford, is organic, loose and easy on the ear.

It’s easy to imagine welcoming Pete Roe into your own house and Pete playing his songs in your back porch - their gentle elegance gradually pushing them further into your brains prominence each time you hear them.

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