Saturday, 25 April 2015

Caught Live (8): Quill @ Shrewsbury 23/04/15

#896: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Ever since I first ventured out to see Quill on behalf of ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) back in June 2013, I've witnessed their gradual consolidation and transformation into a septet who totally enchant and entertain theatre audiences wherever they have graced the stage. Therefore, a trip to the county town of Shrewsbury on the night of Thursday 23rd April see this legendary Midlands band in their latest guise perform in front of a healthy attendance at The Walker Theatre (nestled inside the aptly named Theatre Severn) was a must being as it had been five months since my last Quill gig in Ludlow.
Cooper & Davies (l-r) Graham Clews, Simon Davies and Rob Cooper
Once again, more than able support was given by Quill's regular Shropshire gig partners Cooper & Davies (a trio these days with Graham Clews also on board) who proceeded to thoroughly entertain their onlookers with another polished set of eight songs comprising "Raise A Ruckus" ~ "I Never Said I Was Funny" (Cooper/Davies) ~ "La La Blues" ~ "Girl Is On My Mind" ~ "Rip It Up" ~ "Everything & More" (Cooper/Davies) ~ "Tell It To Me" ~ "Alabama Gals" ~ "Wagon Wheel"

Quill entered the stage and opened with that familiar Fleetwood Mac classic "The Chain" in what turned out to be a much changed fifteen song set list that really played to the strengths of the band. There were four new songs on show in "Matador" (suggested in part by former member Phil Bates), "A Showman's Life" (recommended by Bev), "Falling Slowly" and (rather pleasingly) "Whiskey Girls" (an ELO Part II track co-written on tour in Poland by Phil Bates and Bev Bevan featured on their 1994 album "Moment Of Truth").

The new songs perfectly complimented Quill compositions "Say It Ain't So""Nine Mile Camp" and "England" with an emotional, heartfelt rendition of "Life Is Life" by an inspired Joy Strachan-Brain bringing a tear to the eye on the eve of the third anniversary of the tragic passing of her husband Ben Brain, capping another top class performance. That sadness was contrasted by Joy's pride in announcing that a new Quill album entitled "Brush With The Moon" - penned by Ben and featuring many of their recent live favourites - will be released in June via Cherry Red Records.

At one stage there were two drum kits, a percussion rig, a bass drum and a hi-hat on view (whilst Cooper & Davies performed) with the Quill percussion duo of Bev Bevan and Tim Tandler sharing duties later. That alone spoke volumes as The Move and ELO co-founder appeared relaxed, content and settled as a full member of Joy's Celtic rock outfit, contributing song suggestions and a nice surprise with that classic ELO Part II track included in the set too.
Severn Up: Quill accept the rapturous applause of their Salopian audience
 The ease with which Tony Kelsey's classy guitar licks added to this 'new' Quill sound was noticeable and his string sparring with the ever-excellent if not energetic violinist and vocalist Kate McWilliam truly impressed. The vocal clarity of bassist Matt Davies has always caught my attention since he joined the band and, despite struggling with flu, he delivered another strong contribution as did the often unsung but essential keyboardist cum guitarist cum vocalist Dave Bailey. In short, this was a triumph of a gig!

Quill performed: "The Chain" ~ "Harvest" ~ "Duelling Banjos" ~ "Matador" ~ "A Showman's Life" ~ "Say It Ain't So" ~ "Life Is Life" ~ "Falling Slowly" ~ "Nine Mile Camp" ~ "Jig-A-Jig" ~ "Galway Girl" ~ "Whiskey Girls" ~ "The Celtic Experience" ~ "England" ~ "Whiskey In The Jar"
Settled: The septet who are currently Quill
Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead vox) ~ Dave Bailey (Keyboards/guitar/vox) ~ Kate McWilliam (Violin/keyboards/recorder/vox) ~ Tim Tandler (Drums) ~ Tony Kelsey (Guitars/mandolin/vox) ~ Matt Davies (Bass/vox) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion)

Next up for Quill is a gig at Tamworth Assembly Rooms on Saturday 23rd May. Why not check out their official website via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Quill to those enlightened folks who also enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 25-Apr-2015

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