Wednesday, 24 February 2010

571 THE CLAIRVOYANTS, London WC2 Borderline, Thursday 27 July 2002

Well, I certainly said we'd try to get to this one, and thanks to some hospital appointment re-jigging, we succeeded! Hit the road at 5.30 after a doc's appointment, and walked into the Borderline at 7.45, after a journey made with one eye on the temperature gauge of our ailing car!

But the first person we bumped into at the bottom of the stairs leading into this evocative subterranean Tex-Mex bar-style venue, was none other then Clairvoyants main man Brian Dunn! Brian, a former colleague of American Hi-Fi's Jamie Arentzen in the sadly-lamented (by me, anyway!) Sky Heroes, officially The Greatest Band You Never Heard Of Ever Ever Ever, remembered us from our previous meeting in Boston back in October 2000, and we caught up and swapped news with this very personable and softly spoken young man.

Got the cokes in and chilled before taking up position stage left (which wasn't hard as this gig was only attended by a few dozen people) for Brian's set; despite being billed as "The Clairvoyants",. Brian was flying solo on this one, with just voice and acoustic guitar embellishment. "Just" voice, I say... hah!

The general chat and hubbub continued at the bar while Brian introduced himself, but as soon as he opened his mouth to sing, all chat stopped, seemingly in mid-sentence, to listen to THE VOICE. The man, quite simply, has one of the most extraordinary singing voices it's ever been my privilege to hear, in over 20 years of gigs and 30 years obsession with this thing called music. Deep, low, Belgian chocolate-rich and polished mahogany-smooth, Brian's voice could stop birds in flight, and tonight weaved a spell which kept everyone present enraptured. Despite my love of The Sky Heroes, I have to admit that The Clairvoyants' material, verging on the Brechtian in its' late-night torch music intensity and introspection, really brings out the best in this captivating voice. A handful of moody, slow-burning numbers were dispatched in supreme style, Brian even abandoning the mic to raise an octave or three. I swear, you'd have heard a pin drop.

Brian's friend and headliner Fillup Shack joined him for some backing vocals on the last number, then Rachel and I grabbed a couple of words of compliments before we hit the road at 9.30. No Fillup set for us, as Rach has an early start tomorrow. Besides, we'd heard what we came to hear - that extraordinary voice!

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