Sarah Gillespie and The War On Trevor. The Vortex. Sold out and packed to the rafters. Well what were you expecting?!
And of course, there were Ms. Gillespie's usual co-conspirators, 'what's his name Atzmon,' Gilad Atzmon on clarinet, accordion and soprano, Ben Bastin on bass and Enzo Zirilli behind the traps.
Sarah Gillespie's The War On Trevor At The Vortex turned high octane from the first note. Gillespie was in fine voice and an equally improbable guitar, with Atzmon also on top form. And Messrs. Bastin and Zirilli could hardly have been bettered, too. Zirilli, one of the most delicately colourful drummers on the scene, stood out especially with his superb brush and hand work, as usual.
The first set got under way with songs mainly from Gillespie's most recent album with Atzmon, In The Current Climate, with some from her debut, Stalking Juliet. The high-voltage electricity in the room was palpable already when The War On Trevor seemed to just ignite the atmosphere and concluded the first set. (Damn, and I still cannot get that The Shami Chakrabarti Blues tune out of my head!)
For those who are still not aware what The War On Trevor is, here is a condensed explanation. For more detail, see the review of the EP. It is not Sarah Gillespie's third album, it is an EP of a project supported by a PRS For Music 'Women Make Music' Award. It is a fifteen minute narrative anti-war song cycle that each and every one and especially Everyman needs to hear, so hurry and book your ticket for the next gig, and get the EP. The War On Trevor (yes, the title really is a pun on the slogan of the age, 'The War On Terror') sees Gillespie entering very disquieting, disturbing Kafkaesque territory that is terrifyingly real. Four songs that will burn themselves into your memory. At least, if you are at all awake. Be afraid!
The War On Terror has been and is the most terrifying, immoral and inhumane war yet. All the same, sadly few of the audience seemed to take this in, seemed to realise that what happened to the fictional Trevor could so easily happen to each and everyone of them, of us.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere had become explosive, and the break and some fresh air were most welcome.
The second set continued with a delicious mix of material from Gillespie's albums, including the delectable Lucifer's High Chair from In The Current Climate, with its stroke-of-pure-genius contrasting guitar-driven blues and Celtic outburst of a chorus.
Ms. Gillespie's vocals and guitar were on fire, and Atzmon's clarinet, accordion, and soprano no less. Musically, this quartet was nothing less than perfection. Emma Divine's excellent backing vocals also deserve mention. A higher octane singer-songwriter than Gillespie would be very hard to imagine. Sarah Gillespie's The War On Trevor At The Vortex was just electrifying.
Witty, humorous exchanges of banter between Gillespie and Atzmon always provided excellent light relief between songs. Together with Gillespie's incredible lyrics and original music, as well as her amazing voice and guitar, this makes for an always unforgettable experience.
Sarah Gillespie's The War On Trevor At The Vortex on Thursday night was exactly that. Unforgettable.
Brilliant, gutsy, ballsy. To put it in somewhat robust terms, Gillespie really is the dog's bollocks!
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