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28 January 2001

Songwriters Festival
Birmingham Ronnie Scott's

Support to David Poe, supported by Vinny Peculiar

In My Time Of Dying
The Lightbulb Song
The Waves
On Leaving
Let It Fall
Death Watch For A Living Legend (performed with David Poe)

Review by Conrad Cox

David Poe, Ronnie Scott's

STATESIDE troubadour David Poe is one of a rare breed - a songwriter with tastes so eclectic that he cannot be bagged, tagged or otherwise conveniently labelled. He is predictable only in his unpredictability.

The Ohio singer's bill-topping return to the Songwriters Festival was a delightful lucky dip of musical styles, influences and good humour. From the bittersweet balladry of Moon to the darkly comic Reunion, and from the irony of Apartment to the jangly pop of Star, there was a song for every palate. He even served up disco on the side for an errant dancer.

Premiere song Stick With The Kid suggested a more forceful future and the rockabilly express of Death Watch For A Living Legend, performed with Black Country chanteuese Carina Round brought the house down.

Earlier Round had played an album showcase set with her band, which suggested that she has finally made the step to the big stage her devotees have long anticipated.

Like award-winning Kathryn Williams, the Wolverhampton singer's shyness and seriously surreal links step aside for powerfully passionate vocal prowess on songs like the spine-tingling Let It Fall.

Originally printed in the Birmingham Evening Mail on 30th January 2001

Review by Dan Perry

Right I'm going to do this in a weird order. David Poe headlined but I'm going to review the two other bands first, if that makes sense. Arrived about 7:50 and lucky, lucky me I'm on the guest list. Was a bit worried about this as I really didn't know what to say."Hey there I'm on the guest list". I was expecting them to tell me there was no guest list you pretentious tw*t, but it was cool. Got a good seat looking at the stage from the right side. If nobody has been to Ronnie Scott's (ooh shame) it's venue to say the least. It's kind of like a 1920's underground venue that a big gangster owns, it has lights hanging from the ceiling(which make it hard to see the peeps on stage sometime), and tons of tables all the way to the front of the stage. You can order lobster and other crazy food and tear at huge claws whilst watching the greatest song writing presence at the mo.

After buying a massively ridiculous pint (£3.20?!?!?!), Vinnie Peculiar came on. I thought he kept on saying "I'm Feeling Peculiar" and I was thinking, okay dude stop telling us will you. Anyway he was backed up by a 2nd guitarist who helped on the backing vocals. His voice was very Dylanesque (shit in other words, just kidding C.R!!). It was a very growly voice that kept with the songs well, most of the time. Musically these two were amazing. A lot of appegio guitar playing and a lot of twin guitar finger style playing. The first song was about the porn industry, the second telling us virtually all the weird stuff that's happened in his life, the 3rd about Jesus stealing his girlfriend, hang on a minute. The thing was about this set was that I don't know if he was taking the piss or not. There were a lot of introductions to songs that everybody in the room just nervously
glanced at each other. Kind of a set of songs about conversations down the pub with the 'weird guy' I guess the worst thing sums it up that the applause after your last song ends before you get off stage, damn!

Right 2nd on was a young upcoming starlet called Crina Rund or something. With flashes of deep blues roots and a favouritism for raw emotion a lot of memories of Jeff Buckley, Sinead O' Connor and Robert Plant. I think if this wippersnapper keeps it up she could one day get her own record deal, or even play London. Wait a minute! That was all a big joke by the way if you didn't get it. It was my take on being a professional reviewer and knowing absolutely nothing about her. Well Carina's review will be last (you know the saying the best till..)

Headlining the night was David Poe. A 3 piece from good ol' U.S. of A. (Damn I need to stop this muso journo speech!) Carina had already set me up for this guy and I couldn't wait to see him play. Carina and David are good friends as can be seen through most of the banter throughout the evening. Before I continue, people go out and get the David Poe album, he has a new one coming out this year but there's one out at the mo. A real amazing songwriter. He came out to technical difficulties when David's guitar wouldn't work. Not a great start, I hear you cry, but Damn did he make up for it. The great country styled rhythms from the drums and the great enveloping double bass along with David's amazing guitar playing and even better voice, just oozed coolness. As Carina said "he rocks". These guys were also absolutely hilarious. I thought it was a bad move to crack some funny jokes at the start because the audience usually expects you to be funny whenever you start speaking. The great thing was David kept it up like a regular on the comedy circuit. This I believe made everyone feel a lot more comfortable listning to his music. Even getting a girl to dance, can't be bad. Three songs I felt stuck out were, 'Stick with the Kid' with an amazing intro about the British Press. A song I can't remember the title of but Carina sang with David, chorus had the line 'When I die'. And also this amazing song on one of the encores which had the line about 'being the star outside my window'. Again I'm gonna plug this guy and say go and get his album, a very good purchase.

Onto the great Carina. Didn't manage to speak to her before the show, although I did manage to kind of mime across the room to her about being nervous. She seemed a lot more confident compared to last Tuesday. Now i'm gonna fudge this up I feel, I think her drummer is called Martin? Chit I spoke to the guy, I'll just call him M.Sorry. Well Carina got up and sang "In My Time Of Dying", cover of Bob Dylan for all you who don't know (shame). This is a truly amazing song to open with and, when speaking to her last Tuesday, has the same effect as Damn your eyes (remember that). It grabs your attention, whatever your doing you have to listen to Carina. Just the way I like it. Many gospel links to this song give Carina a huge range voacally to mess about with. Now even after speaking to Carina's family and Carina I really can't remember the names of all the songs. I have to say she really has picked the most amazing musicians to work with. Smudge, who 'I'd seen before play, is a true strike of complete genius on the double bass. I mean this guy is one of those guys that make you wish you were even 1% of how good he is musically. As well as the actual bass parts there were some amazing effects he was creating, yet without that much of an effect pedal selection, which had me wondering where the hell they were coming from. M (sorry again) kept these songs together tremendously. Hearing Carina for so long as a solo performer it was hard to imagine a band or a drum beat following up her stuff but the beats coming out of this guy godamn! They seemed to intermingle with the song, and they were an amazingly tight outfit. Carina was on great form (bennisimo!)and even stabbed at electric guitar, which was awesome. Carina seems to be who she really is on stage. It's kind of hard to explain, but when you know in some strange way how a person is you can see it. Up there on stage was like Carina being everything she is. Every note she hits and bleeds out seems so true it's like hearing a life story and being there. New songs like 'The Lightbulb Song' are another great indication that the album is going to a phenomenal piece of work. She played my 2 favs. which were (i think its called) "over the waves"?!?!? godamn every time I hear that song it's that goose bump stage, and the final tune she plays which again sorry I can't remember but has the lines 'eyes wide open' and 'you doing it, you doing it, you don't know.' It might
be my hugely bias view but I really do think Carina will go down as one of this country's best songwriters.

On Wednesday she has the gig in London, if anybody is down there, please go, I would love more than anything to go and see her but going all the way down there and having no where to stop, not that fun. So if you can make it please go, she's on a roll at the moment, and all the "important" people are going to be there, like press people like that. And a crowd full of lovers of the music would be much appreciated.

Well after speaking to Carina (you know when you have the feeling your pissing someone off? I kinda felt that way last night with Carina, sorry. Although it might have been she had to talk to like a million people) she seems really ready for what this next year may bring. 23rd of April People. Reserve your copy now.
thanx for reading and my apologies for it being SO long.

c ya

Originally online at the CarinaRound Yahoo newsgroup