Open mic night at The Great Malvern Hotel - 07.02.12

It's always a pleasure to ride an evening super-saver on the Hereford and Worcester line and see where best to stop off along the way. This Tuesday it was the short ride to Great Malvern station followed by the trudge up the hill to the Great Malvern Hotel for their always crackling open mic night.

Kicking off was Mr Mike Mann with a few of his loungesome jazzy offerings - I told you he seems to be playing more gigs than ever!

I was quite impressed with the frothy frolicsome antics of Four Tart Harmony to follow - yes they're exactly what it says on the tin - but they are an easy-listening bit of fun and well worth catching.

I was tremendously impressed with the gruff vocal sounds of ex-pat John Harley - who I'd best describe as a speeded-up Tom Waits, with keyboards replaced by guitar. John's a Malvern lad by his roots who re-located a couple of years ago to Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey - I'm a bit baffled really, as I can imagine the Ynys Mon music scene is anything like as vibrant as the current Malvern set-up - hence the homecoming set I think!

A tasty set of bluesy covers from Phil Whitehead before the almost obligatory set from Mr Malvern AKA Tyler Massey - with numbers like Anthem, Red Clay Halo and Dirty Secret before a sneak preview of experimental new May Dolls ditty I'll Try - which apparently is still incomplete - you could've fooled me.

As always at these events, the evening closed with a mix-em-up and mash-em set featuring Dr Stanley frontman Reuben Seabright, Mike Mann and Laurence Jepson with added rhythmic contributions from GMH Open supervillain Neil Collins. I do like these evenings in the Hills - and not just because it's downhill all the way back to the station!

Andy O'Hare

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