I'm never quite sure about seated gigs, especially when they're full of people in their late 50s. Just a little too safe and boring. Which more or less summed up last night's support. Jeb Loy Nichols has a silly name, a nice voice and some nice songs, and can play along on his acoustic guitar very well. And one or two of them would have been lovely, but well, by the time we'd got to the end of his set I'd had enough. He said himself that the pace is very similar on all of them, and I think his friends are right to encourage him to do something about it. He really could do with more variety. Safe and dull.
The same couldn't be said of Richard Thompson, though I know I was fearing I'd made a mistake before he came on. Sometimes he tours with the whole band, but this was just with him, his acoustic guitar and backing on most tracks from (not brother?) Danny Thompson on the double bass. With over 30 years of material to draw on you're always going to have plenty to play and still leave the audience wanting more, and you can have quite a mix of styles and tempos. Crawl Back, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, Beeswing, and I Feel So Good were highlights for me, mostly from the rockier end of the range, and the guitar playing on Vincent Black Lightning in particular knocked my socks off. Hots for the Smarts had us in giggles, and there was a nice political ranty number too. They finished with one I didn't know, but the bass playing on it was really unusual, with much more bow work than most of the night. I didn't know you could get a double bass to play that high! All in all it seems it was worth it after all and the only slight complaints were that the audience was a bit rubbish at singing, and that we couldn't get up and dance.
The cough even stayed mostly under control and we even had time for a quick cocktail in the Cow afterwards. Mmmm gin.
Mind you I still think I enjoy him better with the band.