REVIEW: Sam Lee and Friends, Epstein Theatre, 21/03/2013


Mercury music prize nominee Sam Lee performed at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre last week. Along with his band playing a wide variety of instruments, he entertained his audience by singing songs with an even wider variation of topics. Michelle Bates went along to review…

Well who would have thought from the eclectic mix of instruments around the stage, that tonight’s audience would be entertained by topics such as Sexually Transmitted diseases, Necrophilia, Utopia, the genocide of Jews in the 11th Century and finally rounded off by unrequited love.

The music tantalized our ears with the array of sounds from strings to brass (well a trumpet) which was played magnificently by Stephen Chadwick in a jazzy melody to an old gypsy song with the haunting yet crisp voice of the sensational Mr Lee. The other Friends also sounded great with their ukulele and string interlude on Moor Lock Maggie.

Then we heard Ballad of Willy O about a dead man who crosses back over after 7 years to romance the wife he left behind necromancing her until his soul is called back to the other side. The Ballad of George Collins tells of someone who does more than spread a nasty little rash when 6 fair maidens die on the same night because of his philandering ways. The Jews Garden is a truly haunting song telling the story of how the English slaughtered 1000’s of Jewish people in 1290. What a night great music and a history lesson.

It was also a delight to hear Thomas McCarthy who sang on stage with Sam and made us laugh with his songs that have been handed down from the travelling community.

I managed to grab a word with Sam after the gig, what a gent! He, thanked us for coming and we talked told me about his Shrutti box (I hope I spelled it right!) a kind of squeeze box come accordion from India.

I must also mention the unbelievably talented Stephen Langstaff who performed a few songs before Sam Lee and buddies came on, his song about Tracy Chapman was stupendous and so was he, what a voice. I collared him in the interval and he said that he had filled the Epstein in November and is playing at the Liverpool East Arts Village Club in May.

I am one truly pleased music fan.

Words by: Michelle Bates

 

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