Thursday, 8 July 2010

447 Tom Leach, BLAKE HAZARD, CHRIS COLBOURN, Middle East "Upstairs", Cambridge, MA USA, Friday 26 May 2000

Record shopping today before a taxi-mare over to Allston to meet EdV and his old friend Jeff Stupakevich for Malaysian lunch. Then after more record shopping this afternoon, we meet Mark Kraus and Maureen for dinner at The Middle East, being joined by Michael Paulo before hitting the venue at 10 for this intriguing show (so intriguing that I'd booked tix for this one earlier this week!). Despite being due on at 10, however, Buffalo Tom guitarist Chris Colbourn didn't arrive onstage until half past!

Nevertheless, once ensconced he played a very fine solo set, opening with "My Responsibility" and "Rachael", 2 of his compositions for da Tom, and I'm surprised at how well they stand up, stripped of the "oomph" of the perennial brilliantly powerful "live" Tom performance. Without the full-on amps, Chris' voice is somewhat idiosyncratic - higher than I thought, with a reedy yet charming lilt - and his slower, unknown material (new stuff for The Tom? Or for a solo record perhaps?) fits it very well, lending it a naked, eerie feel. 2/3 of the way through, Chris is joined by Hilken Mancini from Fuzzy, to duet on a touching and starkly beautiful song. Then, in all too short a time, the set was over.

By this time we'd been joined by an ebullient James Horrigan, back from South Carolina and now a Godfather. We chat during Blake Hazard's set; she's apparently the great grand-daughter of F Scott Fitzgerald, she smiles a lot (a lot!!) and has a very girly vocal delivery, but I confess I was enjoying the company more than her folky introspective set. Horrigan leaves and we check out some of Tom Leach - he and band were too Nashville Country for my liking - before calling it a night and heading back through the restaurant. Here, however, we encounter not only Jim Gilbert of The Sheila Divine again, but also Chris Colbourn himself, who amazingly recognised me from my Q Division trip last August, and said I should have spoken to him at Buffalo Tom's recent LA2 show! Don't worry Chris, I will next time!

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