One of the best things about Edinburgh is meeting up with other performers. Sometimes it’s a fleeting yet encouraging chat outside a venue (I met Alan Carr outside the Assembly Rooms where he was performing, and had a lovely chat and swapped encouragement for the fest) and other times it’s people who become top chums and you stay in touch with.
Amy Kohn is a friend of JazzShark‘s, who was playing up at Edinburgh, and who stepped into the role of Echoplex footpedal on Fringe Sunday and jammed along on accordian, on Amo Amatis Amare. She was down in London this weekend playing a couple of gigs so we went along. First up she was at The 12 Bar – an acoustic venue in central London, playing at an accordion night (oh yes, it’s not just bassists who get together for a geek-out once in a while!). Obviously for this gig she was just playing accordion and singing, but was fab. She writes very quirky songs, with lots of really odd harmony in them, and it takes a while to get drawn into Amy-world, but when you catch up with her, it’s beguiling stuff.
Monday’s gig was at Ray’s Jazz in Foyles – just a half hour in-store. But they had a piano, so I went along to see what Amy was like with piano instead of accordion. Damn, she’s a fantastic piano player! Scary stuff indeed. The Accordion is a great live tool, in that it gives her freedom to move around, it’s pretty original for a left-field singer/songwriter and is just makes a nice change, but Amy’s piano playing is on a whole other level. There are nods towards Tori and Kate Bush, but that’s just a tiny part of what Amy does. She’s as much Charles Ives as she is Tori Amos, and her background in musical theatre definitely creeps in there too… I picked up copies of both her albums, and have listened to the brand new so-new-it’s-only-an-advance-copy one, which is marvellous. Really really original and lovely. Top stuff.
Today’s been a day of two halves – the first half was spent shopping in Enfield with my auntie Babs. Well, she’s actually my third cousin Babs, but has always been auntie Babs… (maternal grandmother’s cousin). Anyway, I think I’ve probably blogged about Babs before – she’s 80 (I think), but looks about 20 years younger, has a more active social life than most people half her age, a great sense of humour, and is much fun to go out for lunch with. Today she needed the batteries in her smoke alarms changing, so that was a fine excuse for us to go out for lunch before heroic me shimmying up a ladder to swap said batteries over.
And now I’m listening to and playing through the songs for Duncan’s greenbelt gig. Lucky me – what a charmed life.by