Molly & The Moon - The Green Note
Of the venues we've missed visiting over the last year perhaps the Green Note has been the most missed. In truth all of the things that made it London's best venue in normal times, being in close proximity to other like minded strangers, who were there to listen to the music was not necessarily an experience that many were keen to recreate. The big question to answer as we try to emerge into some sort of normality is, how can the Green Note manage to maintain that atmosphere and yet reassure their patrons that all is perfectly safe?
In true Green Note style, the solution they have come up with is a mutual one with their loyal supporters, they have upped the air conditioning ( using the same Virus busting kit as the Sound Lounge), are taking temperature checks on the door and are not allowing on door sales, as well as reducing capacity. The customers in return, will wear a face mask when not eating or drinking, and will take a covid test in the 24 hours prior to the show. On entry your ticket checker is protected by plastic strips and once inside there is a waitress service for drinks and food to avoid any accumulating around the bar area, other than that an authentic Green Note experience was there to be had by all
Last time we saw Molly & The Moon was at C2C when she was billed as Molly-Anne, she had released some excellent work that had placed her on our radar, and would later release a string of wonderful singles including the perfect punky pop of "Bristol Boy". On that occasion she had some additional players to beef up the sound, tonight there seems to have been something of a lunar eclipse for The Moon are nowhere to be seen but we did have Molly making her solo live debut.
The night was destined to be a success from the very off, with a general feeling of "Isn't it great just to be here" being the overriding sensation. So with just one guitar and an array of harmonicas laid out across an adjacent piano, Molly opened up her first half set with the immortal words "I'm a bit rusty!" before laying down a version of Johnny Cash's "Wayfaring Stranger", for much of which she stood with her eyes shut, really in the moment. The evening was to prove an enjoyable mix of covers and original material from across her body of work.
The first original was "Glow" which also saw the use of a harmonica, Molly throughout was ever smiling, and the uplifting "Summer days" chorus was supplemented by a burst of harmonica. Her take on Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go", sung slightly slower, and certainly more clearer really made the lyrics come to life and made Molly break out into a little jig as she performed.
Returning to her own material, "Corona Del Mar" had a more folky feel at recalled her time in California, while "Bright Eyes", was very evocative and was built around a very delicately played guitar line. :A cover Laura Marling's "Ghosts" retained the somewhat eccentric delivery of the original. The stand out song of the first half "Polperro", with its vivid descriptions of Cornwall matched to some exquisitely held notes. Two covers closed out the first half of the set from either end of the spectrum in terms of being well known, the first was Xavier Rudd's "Follow The Sun" which certainly had us checking out his work later that night, while Molly's take on "Jolene" could not help but generate a singalong.
The second half commenced with "Nature Of The King" and saw Molly very relaxed, even smoothly incorporating a mobile phone going off without losing her stride. The second half was predominantly more original material though a cover of Tom Petty's "Wallflowers" was well observed.
A further return to Cornwall for "Little Cove" was special, the evocative atmosphere built from the guitar line, the lyrics and Molly's delivery really transported us and let us "drift away". The pace was upped and the harmonica returned for "San Francisco Story" again recalling Molly's time in California.
In a slight change of mood for the night, "I Don't Cry For You No More" was Molly doing bitter, taking aim at an ex, although this was swiftly followed by "Cold Is The Night" dedicated to her current beau to balance things up.
The second half reached its climax with two consecutive songs, the uptempo countryish "Talking About Something" was joyful, while "Rise" fulfilled its promise of being a song of hope and saw some strident guitar playing, looking forward to when "the sun will rise once more" and normality will return.
The main set closed in style with "In The Morning" while the Green Note must surely have known it was well and truly back in business, as it heard "Country Roads" reverberating around the building, a traditional curtain closer if ever there was one, once again causing the Green Note throng to burst into song. It included a final farewell harmonica solo, and on completion it really was a great feeling to once again be entertained at close quarters and not via a screen.
One can only hope that the Green Note audience continue to adhere to their part of the bargain as regards testing and that seeing the stars of tomorrow in London's most intimate venue can continue for a long time to come,