I made the trip to Barnsley to see Breathing Space and Quecia last night, at a wonderful venue called The Lucorum. The performance space itself is within a stone courtyard which has been closed off with a glass front and roof. It certainly has its own charm, and as it turned out the acoustics were excellent, both for Quecia’s acoustic set, and for Breathing Space’s full electric set. I have seen its capacity listed as 625, and while I cannot see how that can be the true capacity for a musical performance like this, there was sufficient space for the 11 who turned up. Yes, 11 people turned up for a show featuring two excellent bands for Â£5. Sometimes (regular readers might suggest ‘often’) I despair of the live music scene in this country. Both bands should be playing to a much larger audience of fans who already know their music, and hoping that the audience contains some new faces as well, rather than playing to only small numbers of the already converted. Breathing Space’s drummer, Barry Cassells, made an interesting observation to me, that if they were a tribute band they would be getting larger audiences for playing non-original material. They could most likely charge a higher entrance price as well ! Anyway, to the extent that is a rant, it is over, and on to the music…
I have to admit my main motivation for making the 2 hour drive up the M1 on a wet Thursday evening was to see Quecia perform their acoustic set again, and I was not disappointed. There was a mixture of the old and the new, with something from each of their 2 albums, and some new tracks which I cannot wait to hear from the full band lineup. They started with Wrong Kind of Love from the This Is Where We Are album, and moved into a new track, Kanatama Light – and Hayley’s backing vocals really soared in this one. The Rhythm off their second album followed, and for me this is really where both the vocals and the music remind me of All About Eve, and there was a great depth to Kirsty’s vocals through this one. Another new track with Don’t Ask Me Why, and the two vocals came together in a perfect blend of power and beauty. A very jaunty There For Me was followed by Bitter East Wind, before another new track, Sanity. Kirsty said this is one of her favourites from the new material and it is easy to see why as the slow start crescendos into the chorus to demonstrate the full range of her wonderful vocals. And a very pleasing set was finished with Still Life. I have a feeling everyone there had most likely seen the band before, but what was clear is that everyone there enjoyed the performance.
I did not get hold of a Breathing Space setlist, so I cannot do the same indepth review on their set – as I have said before, I am totally useless at remembering which tracks have and have not been played within a gig – it was hard enough remembering with Opeth and they only played a handful of tracks lol Suffice to say that the Breathing Space set contained numbers from their two albums, and some excellent new material – Butterflies And White Feathers really does stand out. I had seen Breathing Space before in Cambridge with Touchstone, and was instantly taken with their sound and Olivia’s beautiful vocals. For me, she has an air of distant melancholy on stage, which I mean in a positive way as it emphasises the emotions in her voice and accentuates the feeling behind the music. And that sentence reminds me of something Fish said about prog bands the other night – they don’t get groupies, they get poets ! But there is a true beauty to the music Breathing Space are producing, and the only way to try to describe that in words is in a poetic way. The songs are all well crafted with very strong melodies, and there is excellent musicianship throught the band – and they put on a top performance even though they almost outnumbered the audience, which says everything about their professionalism. And it was a pleasure to be able to chat with such an approachable bunch after the gig as I looked to get the promotional poster signed to prove I was there !
Brian Glover, Darren Gough, Dickie Bird, Harry Worth, Arthur Scargill, people of Barnsley – your boys missed a hell of a gig !