Hip Hatchet – Old Cinema Launderette (Gilesgate, Durham, UK – January 18, 2014)
My first ever post on No Depression is a review of my first gig of 2014…and it was a wonderful evening.
The gig was in the Old Cinema Launderette in Gilesgate, Durham, which is one of my favourite places. By day a fully-functioning launderette and by night an intimate venue to see bands and artists. Check out Launderette Sessions to see what’s coming up.
Opening the show was local singer-songwriter Ryan Bird who was pretty good. He played a week-old song, ‘The Soul’, for the first time live that was my favourite of his short set. ‘Learn’ and ‘The Harsh Truth’ were pretty good too. His releases are available on his Bandcamp as “name your price” downloads. I had a little chat with him after his set and he seemed a genuine and affable guy and was keen to talk about his music with the people at the show and seemed grateful that people had listened respectfully to his tunes.
Hip Hatchet on this tour is Philippe Bronchtein playing solo. Before the gig I had only heard his Daytrotter session, which is pretty fantastic, but now want everything he has ever released.
I loved the performances of ‘American Charm’, ‘Mountain Cadence’ and especially ‘Dark Dancer’, with the lyrics “Your mouth reminds me of my hills back home, and your eyes ain’t like nothing that I’ve ever known” lodged in my head the entire journey home.
His guitar playing was intricate and the tone was wonderfully clear, even in this unplugged environment.
His vocals were jaw-dropping, both warm and intimate, and his delivery was always passionate and emotive.
Philippe’s interaction with the audience was great too. He told stories about his songs, the inspiration for specific lines in some songs, trying to dance with Emma Watson at a Providence, RI party, and even managed to get a place to spend the night. Friendly, funny and charming, he sat and chatted with people afterwards and signed CDs and also suggested people visit his Bandcamp for a free EP.
We talked briefly about guitars, touring and the positive reaction he’s had from the shows around the UK and how attentive and respectful they have been (something that is not a given in some countries) and William Tyler from Lambchop.
I literally put the CD, ‘Joy and Better Days’ on as soon as I walked through my door. After almost repeatedly listening to it (along with other downloaded tracks) for a couple of days I heartily recommend the album. It is different to the live show with more instrumentation (mostly played by Philippe). This gives the songs a different feel, but they are still beautiful, detailed, melodic gems. It’s a shame I have only just got it (bearing in mind it was released in 2012).
I’m pleased to travel to Sheffield in February to see Hip Hatchet again, opening for Anais Mitchell (someone I will be seeing for the ninth time come that show). If that night is half as good as tonight it would still be special.