A500 Music ......Bringing great live music to The Potteries

The Wes Finch Band

with special guest

- Sophia Marshall

Tittensor Village Hall

Sunday 10th September 2017

Sophia Marshall burst onto the UK Americana scene as one-half of highly acclaimed band The HaveNots, earning praise alongside as an accomplished female singer-songwriter within the alt-country music scene.

Since the launch of her solo career in 2015, Leicestershire's Sophia Marshall has continued to develop and hone her own musical voice, showcasing her individuality alongside fond influences worn proudly on her sleeve, but always presented with sincerity and sometimes painful honesty.

Ian decided to book Sophia after meeting up with her at a Carter Sampson gig in Corby, where she came highly recommended by Paul Mason who runs 'The Hut' music venue.

This recommendation proved to be 'spot on' as Sophia's voice swept and soared whilst delivering her own songs with gorgeous harmonies provided by her sister Sarah. As Wes later said, “There is something really special when siblings sing together”. Also on stage, was the very accomplished Andy Jenkinson whose melodic bass and mandolin playing blended perfectly with the girl's voices.

All in all, Sophia's band proved to be a perfect introduction to a great evening of live music.

"Disturbingly brilliant", is how 'Roots' magazine describes Wes Finch and most people in the audience at Tittensor Village Hall, on Sunday evening, would agree.

After being so very well received as the support act to Dar Williams in November 2016, it was only fitting that he and his incredibly talented band should be given a richly deserved headlining opportunity. On this particular evening, he was joined by gifted violinist, Jools Street and skilled drummer, Ben Haines. The band gave an even greater depth and an added dimension to Wes' self-penned songs, whose lyrics spin a rich narrative thread, spanning topics as diverse as stars in the skies of New Zealand ('Bowl of Stars'), to the death of a brother ('Jackie's Stone.') The great thing about Wes' performance is the 'light and shade' it offers (often folk music can be unrelentingly heavy), so that even songs with incredibly sad themes can have an almost melodic 'upbeat' feel, which in theory shouldn't work but in practice does.

As always, Wes' vocals and guitar playing were flawless, as he skilfully executed songs such as: 'Sigh no more ladies'; a Rude Mechanicals collaborative number, based on the works of William Shakespeare; 'A Pinch of Salt', which Wes jokingly described as a happy song for him; the poignant 'Southern Cross'; the more traditional sounding 'Red Coat' and one of my personal favourites (along with Jackie's Stone) 'Riverbed', whose foot tapping energy is irresistible. The band were pleasantly surprised when a member of the audience (Andrew Rhodes) shouted out a request for 'Smiling Loner.' In my opinion, this is the joy of the A500 gigs, the audience is responsive, enthusiastic and genuinely listen to the artists, which all the artists, in turn, greatly appreciate.

In conclusion, I would like to use the words of acclaimed producer and composer Gerry Diver to sum up Wes Finch's talent: "A blast of originality, primal energy and musical magic in a market saturated with cloned artists and homogenised songs."

Many thanks to Wes and his band for providing yet another great night of music in the Potteries.
Many thanks to Gwynneth Pickford for this review