Darren Hayman/Peter Astor – Vertex Jazz Club (13 February 2014)

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Ah, it all seems so long ago. Mainly because it was. The Weather Prophets were one of the bands of my youth. One of those none really shared my passion for, only I could see it. When they split, I followed front man Peter Astor‘s career for the first two solo albums, and then – like all old friends – just seemed to lose touch. The Wisdom of Harry hoved into view in the late nineties, I remember checking them out, and liking them. Can I tell you anything about them? Very little. Such is life.

Tonight, just acoustic guitar and one chum on back-up he is in fine, fine voice. I know nothing that he does. “This is an old one” he finishes with. It might well be. I couldn’t say. It’s a lot of time. A fair body of work. His idea of an old one could well be brand new to me. But, I do recognise the songwriter. The material may have moved on over the years, but I recognise the voice. Not just that fine, fine one mentioned earlier, but the written one, the melodies. It’s like bumping into an old friend you haven’t spoke to in ages (and when you did you called their other half a cunt), and you just slip into that drinking-until-the-sun-comes-up mode you always did. And, I’m finding this all a little bit more moving than I really expected. Apparently he put an album out last year. As soon as I can find somewhere to buy it I’ll do so.

This is becoming a bit of a habit. Darren Hayman‘s Occupation carries on apace with this Valentine’s’ special grab bag of love songs. One from each album, played chronologically – so that those only here for the Hefner songs can get off for their train in good time.

Oddly, tonight, Hayman’s songs leave me a little cold. This could be down to the sheer impact of the support. Or some sort of anti-romantic posturing on my part. Or, maybe, it’s not where his strengths lie. None of his songs that have stuck with me are what you would call ‘love songs’ (although arguably they all are – especially those about Essex or diesel engines). The track that stands out most tonight is We Love The City. He admits that it’s a bit sneaky to include it. It just seems more heartfelt.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good show. Well worth coming along. I’m even planning to go to the next (rocket ship themed) night. A points the material seems a little thin. Perhaps something highlighted by the decision to cover of Stig O’Hara‘s No More Lonely Nights. I suspect my tolerance of the ironic cover may be on the wain. Although, he does go to great lengths to explain he doesn’t intend it in any way ironically. So, the incongruous cover? Could be it’s just not as good a song as he seems to think.


Written by Tony Kiernan

14 February 2014 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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