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4 August 2000

Songwriters Festival
Birmingham, Ronnie Scott's

Review by Stephen King

Mark Eitzel/Carina Round Ronnie Scott's Birmingham Engaging: Mark Eitzel.

Markus Sargeant, the driving force behind the Songwriters Festival, has brought an amazing variety of talent to the club over the past fortnight, some never before seen in Birmingham.

It was certainly a first for singer and composer Mark Eitzel, the brains behind the now defunct San Francisco band American Music Club, who was making a debut at the club in an acoustic setting.

Accompanied throughout by Kristin Sobditch on keyboards, Eitzel made the comment that with it being his first solo gig in Birmingham he wanted to be in tune. Unfortunately the first half of the show was troubled by problems with Eitzel's guitar and it was when he borrowed his support Carina Round's instrument that
his performance really took off. Eitzel manages to combine searing emotional intensity through the impassioned delivery of his raw yet poetic lyrics. Whilst it was the gloomy brooding tunes that dominated, Eitzel interjected them with humour through his eccentric banter.

Eitzel has never been commercially acclaimed but he has an established fanbase, many of whom had travelled some distance to witness this rare gig and hear songs of such quality as I've Been a Mess, Jeff Buckley's To the Sea and others with rather more unusual titles like Johnny Mathis' Feet and Lonely Fairy in the Forest.

Eitzel took limited requests, including Western Sky, when it came to the encores, although certain numbers were clearly off the menu, the announced Clouds becoming Last Harbour

Carina Round had earlier belted out a stunning set of her own songs to the obvious delight of the audience.

Originally printed in the Birmingham Post on 7th August 2000