Open mic night at the Great Malvern Hotel - 24.01.12

It's been a little while, but I figured that I was well overdue for a return visit to one of the longest running open mic events - so I caught an evening super-saver over to Malvern for the regular Tuesday night session at the Great Malvern Hotel.

Usual MC Neil Collins was having a night off so proceedings were kicked off by his more-than-capable deputy Mike Mann with a few of his laid-back keyboard numbers.

Tonight's first-timer followed - and I was really impressed with young Ben Smiley - one of Tyler Massey's guitar-class pupils. Ben's only 13-years-old and his voice hasn't yet broken - but it can't be long now, so I hope he gets a few numbers recorded as he's got an incredible mid-range pitch and that clock is ticking fast.

A great set to follow from Worcester's Robert Adam Plant (no - not that one) who has to be one of the finds of 2011. This was a more 'intense' set than I've previously seen with great tunesome ditties like Say Something and Maybe Just Thanks, but he's also the writer and performer of 10,000 Words - which is already marked-in as a local classic.

It's always nice to sort out an argument - I thought I'd really messed-up last week when I mentioned that duo Sean Jeffreys and Anna Mason AKA HitchHiker had a number called Physics. The song I was thinking of was actually called Neutrons & Electrons - which they'd written as a tribute to the science of chemistry - which in my book begins and ends with the hydrogen atom. I've called them the best humanist band going - you've really got to check out the lyrics from these guys because they have to be the most intelligent and thoughtful around. As an acoustic duo their set's possibly a bit too laid-back for me, but in full rock band mode they're one of most promising up-and-coming outfits on the local circuit.

A mini-set of covers followed from hastily-thrown-together duo Rob Plant and Jim Of Ronin before the last set of the evening for yours truly from our very own Jerry Chester - who probably only plies his ditties on an unsuspecting public maybe two or three times a year, but when he does it's always an absolute treat. I was particularly taken with his number about doorstep evangelists - and Send Me Frank And Send Me Tom is a tribute to the efficacious powers of the effects of listening to Mr Sinatra and Jones The Voice - oh so true!

Andy O'Hare

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