DIMBLEBY & CAPPER / NATHAN HOLME @ THE GRAMOPHONE

After traffic accidents had extended the coach journey from Scotland, I finally arrived at The Gramaphone near Spittalfields. A quiet and relaxed atmosphere was a welcome, as were the mouth-watering aromas coming from the award winning Thai kitchen. If we hadn’t already enjoyed a Peruvian feast at nearby Tito’s we would certainly have sampled the menu. Arriving early at a gig is like arriving early at a party when you begin to wonder if you’ve done the right thing, however, with sound checks mostly complete and hardly anybody around it was very relaxing just to sit and chill after the long journey and catch up with my daughter.

As word spread that something was about to happen a reasonably sized crowd began to gather in the small intimate venue. The first act was Nathan Holme, an old friend of Laura’s who had coincidentally been booked for the same evening, but had never actually shared a billing before.

As a taste of things to come later, his performance developed as he recorded vocal and guitar samples before expertly looping them to form a backing for further input. By the time he ‘risked the wrath’ of promoter Kate by playing an extra number I was completely ‘sold’ and as ‘Blocks’ came to an end I was keen to hear more. I had certainly lost track of the exact number of individual samples that had been added to the final mix. Any unaware ears listening in would easily believe that there was a whole band on stage.

With so little equipment, it wasn’t long before a solo Dimbleby & Capper opened with the recently released ‘Want This’. Laura’s vocal intonations were creatively developed making this performance a completely different entity from to the version available on i-tunes. The three more numbers that followed, each new to me, confirmed the excellent breadth of catalogue that she has been compiling. All too soon she started her last number, a brilliant reworking of ‘Structure’. There was no sign of gaffer tape as clothing , nor of any other ‘non-traditional’ materials such as black bin bags, although the glittering black trousers hinted at her keen sense of fashion. Part way through the set Laura removed her top to reveal a black t-shirt with the trademark Dimbleby & Capper ampersand logo.

Perhaps it was extravagant of me to spend over twenty hours on a return bus trip for such a gig but I have no regrets. Stadium events with the likes of Bruce Springsteen are certainly something to be treasured but I personally prefer these more intimate gigs where it is possible to experience fresh new talent. It also gave me an opportunity to spend valuable time with my daughter and to sample the culinary delights of the Peruvian restaurant that I first saw over a year earlier. If there are any regrets at all, they are that the timings meant that we couldn’t stay on to hear the final band, The Escapists. I was disappointed not to be able to stay for this band but after setting out at 5am with a fairly early start required next morning, it really was essential that we aimed to get to Chiselhurst before it got too late. When all is said and done, Dimbleby & Capper was the headline act as far as I was concerned and to echo L’Oreal adverts – I would say to her that I came “because you’re worth it”!

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