Acoustic night feat. Dan Gates, Carrick and Ethan Ash @ YardBird Birmingham

So, this is my first musical blog post; it could go one of two ways. Predictably it could be quite poor, but maybe (and hopefully) I can surprise myself. I am a regular attendee of the YardBird Jazz Club in Birmingham on a Sunday evening. I go every week with my mate Chris for a dose of pure musical acoustic genius from a variety of bands and performers that I would otherwise never know existed. As per usual, this Sunday did not disappoint.

First to take to the stage was Daniel Gates, a man of many talent’s who had the smooth vocals of Ed Sheeran (though considerably less ginger). His piano technique was entirely flawless; the speed and complex nature of which is comparable to the skills of Tim Minchin (this speaks volumes about the performance as Tim is an absolute shred on the piano, and also my hero). He also gave the guitar a run out, despite claiming to have only begun to learn two weeks previous. It was a very bold move and didn’t sound half bad, particularly as he was so inexperienced. Any mistakes made on guitar were nullified by his mellifluous voice and powerful lyrics.
So if ever you hear that Daniel Gates is due to play in your town, I strongly recommend you go along; you shan’t regret it!

The following act, Carrick, was a folk ensemble consisting of Richard on acoustic guitar, lute & vocals and Caroline on flute, percussion and support vocals (hence Car-Rick). During their performance, a total of 5 songs were played with an eclectic mix of folk covers and original compositions. The first of these, Reunion Hill,  was a very pure, elegant piece. The inclusion of the flute was a glorious addition and uplifted the entire room. The second song (Last to Know) was written regarding a previous relationship gone wrong. It was filled with genuine emotion and broke my heart in a way only Taylor Swift could manage… (just kidding). The final original recalled a story about the slaves and provided a mixed bag of emotions, both happy and sad. It captured my attention immediately and I remained engrossed in the song thereafter. If ever there was an example of a piece of music telling a story, this was it.

Carrick also performed two covers that were altered to suit their music style. They first performed Romeo and Juliet, originally by Dire Straits. Personally, I don’t think much of the original, but they really brought it to life and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Dakota, the Stereophonics classic, was the other. A bold decision to cover such an excellent song yet they truly gave Stereophonics a run for their money. With Richard’s superb vocal talent and jovial guitar beat, and Caroline’s expert percussion beat & wonderful voice they added a fun and energetic element to this song.

The final, headline act of the evening was Ethan Ash, a man who knows how it feels to play to a large crowd having toured with both Ed Sheeran and Janet Devlin. Yet here he was, playing in a small room in Birmingham, to a crowd of 30 odd people, and it was clear to me certainly that he had learnt a lot through his touring experiences, namely crowd participation. Throughout his performance, he made numerous attempts to bring us, the audience, into his songs. He had limited success, but a definite A* for effort. He even handed out Jelly Babies… call me shallow, but that was enough to win anyone over.
As for his music, he was excellent. Truly brilliant! His music reverberates through your body and touches your soul. I suppose it is no more than should be expected if artists such as Ed Sheeran have demonstrated an active interest in him. The whole performance displayed his raw talent, and I truly believe there is still room for him to improve. An absolute class act and a potential future star.

Every single week, the YardBird’s collection of musicians pleases me and this week I thought they surpassed their usual high standards, and this applies to all three acts. And though I loved the piano skills and smooth vocals of Daniel, and the star potential of Ethan, I believe they were relatively mainstream. Therefore, my favourite of the night has to be Carrick for the breath of musical fresh air they delivered.

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