Nothing quite beats the feeling of seeing a show and at the same time knowing that your ticket fee is going to do some good. Tonight's entrance fee is going to support Crisis giving support to the homeless this Christmas. It was also a chance to see three acts for varying reasons in a different format to how they might usually be seen.
The first of tonights artistes to leave their comfort zone was Helen Hurd. As she was later to observe, she is normally surrounded by a rocking band allowing her to belt out her vocals at full blast however tonight her three piece band consisted of a cajon player, a keyboard and a guitar player playing in a more relaxed style. She needn't have worried as both her material and her voice were easily able to adapt to their new surroundings and if the rock world ever lets her down, the transition to being a successful Americana artist on the evidence of tonight would be a short one.
Opening with "Strange Kinda Love" normally laden with electric guitars, was reinvented to be positively jaunty with a captivating chorus, while "Breathe Again" which on record starts as a piano ballad before guitars come thundering in proved it was strong enough to stand on its own. Helen's voice you sense was always able to go up another gear but in this format it was quite superb. Pat Benetar's "Love Is A Battlefield" was reinvented as a lounge classic while a new song "Someone to Call Home?" not on her EP was another strong ballad that showcased some exceptional vocals. Closing with new single the rocking "The Boss" she got the Troubadour clapping along in a highly entertaining set.
Having followed Holloway Road since they made the floor of the Barfly bounce supporting John and Jacob this was a nice diversion to see Rob and Jack as an acoustic duo. This was to be their last show of 2017 and as with Helen earlier it gave their material a chance to see if it could stand up without its normal tumultuous backing. Starting with "Little Harder" it was immediately apparent that their songs, stripped back sounded better than ever, with Jack's vocals crystal clear the songs took on a new life. They ended the song with a light hearted bow to each other. Particularly impressive tonight were the singles "If She Falls" now streamed nearly 140,000 times and the latest single "Undercover" which sounded extremely impressive in this format.
A setlist rethink resulted in us getting an excellent "Good Thing Gone Bad", while Jack's vocals on "I Won't Fall" were impeccable. A hugely entertaining set full of good humour, ended with a storming "We Said So" with the TeamW21 table providing suitable backing vocals, and the boys closing with a fist pump if not a Busted jump!
Curran is someone we've been trying to catch up with for a while, our only previous meeting was seeing him support Inglorious a UK Hard rock band where he put in a sterling acoustic set to an audience who were only there to be deafened. Tonight as with the other artists he is playing out of his comfort zone as his band have been stuck in Germany due to a pilot strike, so he is left to entertain us with just a stool and an acoustic guitar, and as he will later confide playing to 80,000 people not a problem but playing to a smaller room on your own is quite nerve wracking.
His set in many ways divided into 2 parts, the opening tune "Destination Anywhere" and songs from his EP such as "Run Back To You" and "My Love Won't Let You Down" were reborn as acoustic rockers and if you've heard the originals you'll know just how stripped back they were but as with the other artists today they were to stand on their own merits. The second half of the set pointed to maybe a more Americana direction, "Old Fashioned Cowboy" displayed some full on vocals on the chorus, while "Hanging On", created from an unfortunate set of personal circumstances was again extremely strong and displayed a great range in his singing.
There was a welcome return to the stage for Helen Hurd for a rip roaring version of "Proud Mary" which incorporated another cover in the shape of "Rocking All Over The World". The main set closed with a New Jersey tribute to Jon Bon Jovi with a cover of "Blood On Blood" while the encore was his excellent new single "Better Days" , a ray of hope that the future will be better than today.
Curran and Holloway Road will be touring together during February 2018 where they will be joined by Shelly Fairchild in what promises to be a night not to be missed. see dates below.
FEB 19 O2 ABC 2 Monday, 7:30PM Glasgow, United Kingdom
FEB 20 Night & Day Cafe Tuesday, 7:30PM Manchester, United Kingdom
FEB 21The Cluny 2 Wednesday, 7:30PM Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
FEB 22 O2 Academy 2 Thursday, 7:30PM London, United Kingdom
FEB 23 Hope & Ruin Friday, 7:30PM Brighton, United Kingdom