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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

LIVE REVIEW: BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

It has to be said there is a certain vicarious thrill to be had when an artist that you have championed for some years passes a particular milestone. Another of those moments happened tonight as #TEAMw21 looked at the long queue of expectant fans snaking it's way down Parkway, well ahead of the doors opening to The Green Note and then again as the SOLD OUT board was placed outside for the appearance of the Brooke Law Band. Tonight's presentation from Talentbanq and Black Deer would be the culmination of growing a fan base by sheer hard work, the occasional thankless nights playing in front of ignorant office workers not listening now forgotten - this was to be Brooke Law's time to shine and it was an opportunity she would grab with both hands.


Following on an equally up escalator to success was tonight's support Savannah Gardner, with an album due in September, Savannah seems to have been constantly gigging since we last saw her at the Sound Lounge with Ags Connolly some months ago. Tonight would be a different format to then with Savannah joined by Dale Davis who achieved a round of applause louder than many artists get, acknowledging his work with Amy Winehouse and mentoring Savannah, he would bring a bass element to Savannah's sound, a combination that would work out very nicely.

BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

After explaining the arrival of Black Deer Radio, it would fall to Neil "Dr" Fox himself, to introduce Savannah Gardener to the waiting crowd.


Savannah has a unique habit of doing her introductions while playing the guitar - for the opening song she would say she was in her "Outlaw phase", "A Recovering Good Girl" subliminally planting the title of her forthcoming album and single. With her mid atlantic drawl coming from growing up in America with British parents, there is no-one who sounds remotely like her. Lyrically rich, she would gradually build up the volume as the song progressed, Dale's bass joining in halfway through to enhance up the sound further.


The same talking intro style would take us into a new song "It'll All Come out In The Wash". This was magnificently wordy, and was played out like an old time music hall number where the performer was addressing the audience as if in conversation. There was touch of a latter day Eartha Kitt in this glorious theatrically delivered tune with Savannah's vocals veering from virtually a whisper to outrageously loud. It was a tour de force without doubt.



BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

Savannah would move to a staccato guitar style for "City Of Cowboys", which saw the assembled audience joining in unrequested, already knowing the words - a sign of all that hard gigging, it allowed her at the second chorus to just conduct. It has the final pay off line in the chorus "My dreams came long before you".

It is a song of survival and keeping your focus, there's a lot packed into this song which we'll look at in depth on the albums release. Toasting the life of 1800's original outlaw Belle Star, "Lone Rider", would see Savannah and Dale created a punchy soul country song.


BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

Further drama would come with "Wildfire", taking the metaphor of things being destroyed to lead to eventual rebirth and applying it to a relationship. A soaring chorus and a latter verse of reinvention make this a compelling listen. Having put us through the emotional wringer, it was time to lighten the mood with "Heaven Is A Feeling", a traditional country song, listing a series of heartwarming events sung with a big smile.

Savannah's closing two tunes would segue into each other, the wild honky tonk of "I'll Be Missing You" which turned the Green Note into a riot of clapping, stomping and "Yeehaws!" replete with a funky Dale bass solo. It would then develop into the closing number "Dead End Relationship", a little bit faster, with Dale's repeating funky bass lines undercutting Savannah's intro, before forming the backbone of this runaway train of a song - a superb way in which to close out.


The next few months are destined to be the "Summer Of Savannah!" with #TEAMw21 set to cross paths with her already at least twice more. With an album launch at the Camden Club on the 26th September there really will be nowhere else to be on the night and why not join her for the 4th July celebrations at the Fiddler's Elbow?


BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

Tonight was very much a Brooke Law Band show, #TEAMw21 have seen Brooke play with a band before, a reshuffling of personnel saw the arrival of a replacement guitarist, who would prove to be a major player in making the evening such a success. Along with a drummer who perfectly pitched his percussion, as well as a seemingly ever smiling bass player - this tight unit would provide the platform that would allow Brooke to shine. It was one of the few occasions where it would have been nice to have the sound even louder to truly savour some of the excellent guitar work going on but that is the tiniest quibble in what would be a superb set.


BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

Brooke would have her own celebrity MC in Jill Tee creator of the Black Deer Festival who spoke very passionately about her girls ( Savanah & Brooke ) and the Black Deer brand before letting Brooke loose on the Green Note crowd.


The brooding intro into "Talk To Me" immediately set the scene, the 80's style powerpop guitar and bass topped off with some crisp drumming. Brooke may have been one of the tiniest folk in the room but undoubtedly possessed the most powerful voice. The rock riffing guitar, the teasing little pauses, all showed a band and top form. Wasting no time Brooke was immediately leading off into "Not For Love", Being freed from lead guitar duties allowed Brooke to concentrate her efforts more on her vocals to great effect. The combo of rock vocal and lead guitar were so complimentary to each other it was a joy to behold.


A slow guitar into reminiscent of the Eels would slow the pace and take us into "The Best Regret", Brooke had placed her guitar down by now and had moved to hand holding the microphone. Even with an exceptional band to watch Brooke becomes a magnet for the eyes, always vying for attention with her trademark flick of her hair, a pointing gesture maybe just a bright smile or a flash of her brown eyes.


BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

The slow bluesy verses would give way to a power chorus, Brooke holding her hand over her heart to emphasise certain lines. Varying delivery from ultra quiet to quite loud, it all seemed worked out to provide maximum impact. Brooke revealed it as her first heartbreak song written over ten years ago yet it sounded as fresh as a daisy.


From vintage to a brand new one, "Flying Solo", which contrasted the band restrained as Brooke fired out the lyrics of the verses during the verses before being unshackled for the chorus to try to keep up with Brooke's impassioned delivery - "I know that I'm gonna make it!". For a few seconds the band would fade away and it was just Brooke and her acoustic guitar before resuming to take us through to the finish.


The evening would contain two co writes with Ben Earle, the first of which "Excuse Me", wears it's influences on it's sleeve, full of inventive melody, and wording, it's no pastiche - it fits right in alongside the likes of Alanis Morissette from that mid 90's rock era. That Brooke has managed to go so long without releasing it, is a testament to her, waiting for just the right moment. It was one of those songs that would not have sounded out of place blaring out form the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury weekend!

BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

A big bass rhythm from Rico allowed for band introductions before forming the backbone of "Help Me" which came with some heavy hitting guitar riffing just crying out for a louder monitor - Brooke by now was in full rock chick delivery mode with unbridled power in her delivery. . The sheer sympathetic nature of the bands playing really came to the fore on "We All Need Saving", Brooke's "Mental Health Awareness Day" offering of last year. With Brooke's acoustic guitar leading the way, there was the tiniest amount of shimmering cymbal added, and most minimal of supporting electric guitar that all helped to add to the overall sound. This was the song that first alerted us to how special Brooke could be and this was undoubtedly the most complete performance #TEAMw21 has witnessed yet. The transitions from the vulnerability of some of the "We All Need Saving"s to the latter full throated ones was amazing to watch in one song. It elicited a "Wow" from the audience and it was indeed a "Wow" moment!

BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

The mood was then lifted by the jaunty "Millionaires", despite the fact that the lyrics are actually quite raw and paint a quite bleak picture. With additional backing vocals from guitarist David, this changed the overall sound, his inventive guitar work also invigorated the whole tune. There was another old to new switch with the move from Brooke's first song to her most recent single "Gypsy Woman", powered by a firm back beat, the bands switch to Americana rock was a total success, some almost Edge like guitar work giving an almost arena feel to a show being played in one of London's smallest venues. The whole "big show" feeling only increased with a perennial crowd pleaser, a cover of Four Non Blondes, "What's Up" - most of Camden must have heard the chorus as the Green Note truly found it's voice.


Giving us a sneak preview of her next single, Brooke wold then move to "Real", a look at a dystopian AI future pointing out the potential perils, in a world where "No one really loves you for real". With a "This is for you Mum" directed at her onlooking parent, there was an outing for one of Brooke's more recent singles "Wild As I Was". The sound transformed from earlier versions by a heavier bass and guitar sound - and Brooke's freely soaring vocals, another tune in it's best ever version.


BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

Brooke would take off her guitar and cajole the audience to their feet for an exemplary version of "Proud Mary". Initially slow and sultry, it immediately engaged the audience and just as it started to slow like a train coming into the station that was a loud drum crack and a cry from Brooke and we were suddenly in a speeded up version with new wave Pistols riffing and Brooke channelling her inner Tina Turner. A sort of joyous anarchy broke out in the Green Note with the guitarist stepping off stage to play from the the audience. There was singing, dancing and just general magnificent mayhem. The second Ben Earle co write would close out the main set with the anthem that is "Freak On", once again we were transported to an arena sized venue with audience hand waving, and singing, Brooke conducting events brandishing a big smile.


With curfew approaching there was time for one encore in "Boomerang", another song finding it's best incarnation on the night. The chorus would see the Green Note erupt into a rowdy choir of voices and stomping on the accompanying rising "Whoa"s of the chorus. Turned into a delicious new wave Americana romp #TEAMw21 loved every second.


A joyous evening of musical talent from start to finish showcasing 2 talents destined for bigger and brighter things.

BROOKE LAW - SAVANNAH GARDNER - THE GREEN NOTE

PHOTOS BY: COLIN JONES


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