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Updated: 20 Mar 2013

Village Hall, King's Somborne, Saturday 12 January 2013
  • Sold-Out Somborne Sessions - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Civic Theatre, Doncaster, Thursday 7 February 2013
    Assembly Hall, Worthing, Saturday 16 February 2013
  • Sense Of Intimacy - Review by Nigel Bennett
  • Shanklin Theatre, Isle of Wight, Thursday 21 February 2013
    Auden Theatre, Holt, Friday 22 February 2013
    Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe, Saturday 23 February 2013
    Red Lion Folk Club, Kings Heath, Wednesday 27 February 2013


    SENSE OF INTIMACY - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Quickly, I'll add that "Tears and Pavan" back in the set list well for tonight at least.

    Heading back to Worthing for a Strawbs gig, brought back memories of June 2009. That recall came first during the drive down which was hampered by a major snarl up of traffic in the city of Salisbury, that mean't a quick change of route plan. As I had left in plenty of time, I decided a trip across the pretty if winter beaten heaths of the New Forest was a better bet, than sitting for I don't know how long in oodles and oodles of stationary traffic. Plenty of brown and definitely no purple heather on the heath, with ponies a plenty happily grazing in between. Many still sporting their shaggy winter coats, despite the first rays of warmth hastening the now speedy (we hope !) exit from the UK winter.

    A chill was back in the air by the time I reached Worthing and the onset of dusk and seaside air did at least make it a little more appealing with twinkling lights along the promenade and in the sky.

    June 2009 I recalled, was the last time I made the trip there and that time to see the electric band. Then, the weather was dreadful, wind and rain lashed all parts. I reminded myself that it was then that the observation was made of a no doubt " Broken Hearted Bride"( the album of the same name was released less than a year earlier) who was trying to have her wedding photos taken on the pier, whilst the veil flew hither and thither in all sorts of directions.- (See Strawbsweb review)

    All this whilst we all sat in the warmth of a seaside hostelry enjoying some pre gig revelry (food and drink). So just for old times sake and the fact it was dry and calm tonight and the sky as clear as you ever do see, I walked to the front and trudged happily all around the pier with not a photographer in sight to "snap me" luckily !.

    A quick stroll back to the gig and by now the doors were open, ...ah.... the theatre, council operated 9.30 pm. finish....thought even with an hour and a half drive back would make it seem like I had hardly been out that night if I left straight after the show.

    At first sight the cavernous nature of the hall made me think to myself that even though I rarely travel without a ticket, but as tonight I had chanced it without one, there was a good chance I would get in. As it turned out, a fine audience had turned up and despite the size of the hall, the developing warmth of their applause as the gig progressed, brought to the fore, almost that sense of intimacy, that you get in smaller theatre's.

    It was very enjoyable show and made more so by the welcoming and helpful staff, not something you always get in other council run venues. The one thing they all have is really good sound equipment and tonight, even though an acoustic show, the sound boomed out from the amps, it was akin to having a full electric band on stage. DC 's voice tonight was so impressively powerful. I imagined it was still 1972, with the evocative " New World" cutting through the atmosphere like a vocal knife. There were of course those gentler moments to bring balance to all that angst Josephine and "You And I (When We Were Young)" speckled the evening with a different sort of pleasure.

    I do have one gripe. Not about the show or the theatre, but the against the individual sat some rows in front of me that for some reason chose to talk regularly in a loud voice to his "pal" next to him, not once , not twice but several times during each song. Every time his head slewed sideways, you knew what was coming next.

    You could see heads turning more and more as people got fed up with his constant chattering until later in the show someone whispered to him "**** **" (didn't hear what was said) and he got the message for the rest of the show. Why some do this I'll never know.."some are just blind, they cannot see "or is it "some are too blind to see", perhaps if we had been given a touch of "Simple Visions" that night he might have got the message and stopped earlier "I was blind but now I see "..let's hope so and he has understood for the next time.

    Setlist (not in order) from Nigel Bennett

    The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
    The Hangman And The Papist
    Oh How She Changed
    Cold Steel
    Lay Down
    Shine On Silver Sun
    Remembering/ You And I
    New World


    SOLD OUT SOMBORNE SESSIONS - Review by Nigel Bennett

    Excellent night on's a few words and flyer. DC quipped as the show started

    "I have to admit we all got a little excited when our agent called to say that we were booked to play Sorbonne and we thought it we were all off for a lovely trip to Paris. Sadly, it was a little misunderstanding and perhaps as we had never heard of King's Somborne - an easy mistake to make, but still it's lovely to be here - a really nice place. However, have to say we did have a bit of difficulty in finding our way to the pub as this must be the darkest village in England with no street lighting to show the way".

    A situation Dave no doubt found and made worse by the dark and brooding day that had gallons of torrential raindrops dancing in the treetops and on the ground. Indeed, as we drove the little tiny lanes leading to the village, the evidence was clear, as little puddles, became big ones and the big ones turned into floods.

    The chosen route also took us high on the ridge on the downlands see and passed the route marker of the Farley Mount carefully chosen (not that we saw it in the pitch darkness) and used as a guide to make sure that the road was going in the right direction. Particularly as out here in the "wilds" there was not a signpost to be seen. We could have been high up on another "Stormy Down" because of all that weather and as we reached the imagined highest point - a few flakes of snow scattered prettily across the windscreen adding an extra dimension to the adventure.

    Finding the venue in the darkness was easy......first.... find the pub, then turn left, and then deduce that the "bottle bank" signs would lead to the Village Hall venue. Fortunately and thanks to some excellent navigation, arrival was well timed, especially important having noticed in the week previously from the website that the gig had sold out. Arriving in plenty of time there was a chance to choose your seat ahead of the arrival of the "masses"

    A number of changes had been made to the set list from the recent North American tour having checked today, but many favourites remain and included and those that I have immediate recall of tonight are listed right. I particularly I noted what is I think a new arrangement for me of "Remembering/You And I". Maybe those that were able to get to Clacton may be able to confirm my thoughts. [DG - yes - the new arrangement of "You And I" for me was a highlight of the Clacton show. Previously in the set only with the earlier Acoustic Strawbs line-up.]

    The capacity crowd thrilled as the band worked through their repertoire in two sets and with Dave C on top story telling form and had every one hanging on to his every word, even revealing "secrets" about everyone on the true they were I'll keep that as a surprise.

    An excellent evening, busy merch desk and rousing audience appreciation after the encore brought the evening to an end, apart of course for the adventure of the return journey down those little un-signposted lanes, resulting in a minor detour to correct my wrong or missed turning or two or come to think of it three. Did it matter? not a jot.

    "Somborne sessions" appears to be one of the organisations springing up in small communities across the country, run by enthusiasts whose love of music gives the local population access to music they would otherwise have to travel to enjoy. This also has the the added benefit of bringing well known performers to new audiences and this has become even more important as funding support for Arts is reduced by local authorities and the cost of hiring venues soars. It was great to see that this venue and the band were so well supported and my impression was that every thing ran really well making it all a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

    Photo of flyer from Nigel Bennett (click it for larger version)

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