God Is In The TV > Reviews > Live > Tympaniks / Emma Flowers / Ben Drummond – Birmingham Hare & Hounds, 21/11/2019

Tympaniks / Emma Flowers / Ben Drummond – Birmingham Hare & Hounds, 21/11/2019

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Tonight, the excellent Hare & Hounds venue plays host to a fund -raiser for the British Heart Foundation, with three acts giving their time free for the cause.

Opening the show is respected local guitarist / vocalist Ben Drummond, who has supported artists as diverse as The Blockheads, Eric Clapton and Ellie Goulding and his appeal is immediately apparent; Drummond is an extraordinary player, flitting between styles (often within the same song), he delivers a set including some interesting and original arrangements of other artists’ work, a stunning take on Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ being a highlight. Drummond has some similarities with his namesake Ben Watt, in his jazz-inflected guitar work and certainly in his vocals, which is high praise indeed.

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Next is a solo acoustic set from Emma Flowers, who has actually just this moment finished supporting Martin Stephenson & The Daintees down the corridor in the other Hare & Hounds room, potentially a first for the venue! Flowers performs songs from this year’s debut album, Waiting For Tomorrow, recorded with the aforementioned Stephenson, and is not afraid to address hard-hitting issues such as homelessness (her promise to not get too political turns out to be a hard one to keep in the current climate!), as well as anxiety and depression. The self-deprecating Flowers announces that she is going to lighten the mood a little by performing a song about night terrors, but later the up-tempo ‘All My Life’ does just that, and final song ‘Bridge To The Stars’ is dedicated to the first female Doctor Who.

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And speaking of Doctors, headliners Tympaniks actually have more than one Consultant Cardiologist in their line-up – potentially another Hare & Hounds first – but notwithstanding that the cause is very close to their, well, hearts, tonight is all about the music, which is indie rock with perhaps two parts indie to three parts rock, (think Howling Bells or Band Of Skulls), and there are no shortages of variety or ideas in their set. Opener ‘Delay’ begins with a rolling ‘Madchester’ drum beat and when guitarist Leong Lee adds a subtle vocal to Donna Newton’s lead towards the end, it could almost be a lost early Curve song.

‘Stitch In Time’ allows recent bass recruit Lee Pottinger to shine, his dexterous but never showy performance giving a real depth to the band’s sound, while ‘So Long’ slowly builds to become a winning tune in the vein of The Sundays ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’. Standout song of the night is ‘Come Home’, a chorus-drenched guitar sound from the Robin Guthrie school brings a nice contrast and fits with an empathetic vocal from Newton. There’s a cover – a version of Jefferson Airplane’s mighty ‘White Rabbit’, which has a pleasing chiming keyboard intro from Russell Davis before the band’s own epic track ‘Slender’ sees a sparser sound build to an impassioned ending.

‘Isolation’ has a similar crunchy guitar sound to its Joy Division namesake though is musically very different, while ‘Cupboard Love’ is a favourite with the audience having been shared on social media in a stripped down version this week – tonight it sounds even better with the full band sound behind it. The final song sees the band reunited with its writer, Alex Owen, and he introduces the track, ‘Waiting For The Summer’ by explaining that it is about ‘The dreaded B-word – still as relevant today as when I wrote it in 2016!’ The song was picked up by the BBC and made ‘Track of the Week’ on BBC Introducing, so is a fitting way to end the evening; a Summery acoustic offering at odds with the cold, dark, windy streets outside the door.

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If you would like to make a donation to the British Heart Foundation, please visit https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/donate/donate-form

Thanks to DLP Images for providing live photos:(https://www.facebook.com/DomLeGrosPhotography)

 

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