It has been a long time coming, but I was finally able to get my bum over to a live event in my local barber Abner Browns last week to catch Neev Kennedy and Scott Maher wow an enthusiastic and respectful crowd.
An odd thing really, saying you went to a gig in a barbershop. Good thing I like odd. And music. The set up is magnificently simple – it’s an acoustic session in a setting that requires nothing added to make it special. Every inch of every wall of Abners is chock full of music memorabilia from guitars to records to saxophones to gig posters. If Johnny Cash was a teenager now, this is how his bedroom would look. It oozes cool.
Neev Kennedy and David Payne kicked off the night. Well, I say kicked off, but it was more of a gentle pat on the shoulder and a kind whisper in the ear of the listener. God they were good. So understated, so gentle, so full of energy and emotion, that they commanded your full attention from the get go. Their melodies were fantastic too – akin at times to the familiar tones of HamsandwicH during their more gentle pieces. It was poetically romantic.
Next up was the headliner Scott Maher flying solo. This guy did things with a guitar and a loop pedal one can only dream about. Normally with a full band in tow, Scott compensated for this by singing directly in to the sound-hole, mimicking a saxophone, foot stomping, and guitar tapping. The loops were complex as his songs are quite layered, but he pulled it off. It was great to watch. His voice was powerful too – and we all enjoyed hearing the stories of how his week went at Facebook HQ et al. He wasn’t even phased when an audience member started chopping a lemon in front of him. Kudos.
I didn’t drink on the night, but it is BYOB and free entry. Where do you out your beer did you ask? Why, you simply plonk it in the sinks full of ice. Genius.
Should you go? Yes. Will I be back? Yes. Is it cool? Ooooh yes.
Salute Abners, salute.