Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Rob Heron and Tommy at the Upfront Arts Venue

Unthank, Cumbria, UK. Saturday 19-February-2022.

Once again Cumbria has provided an unusual and entertaining musical evening. We were alerted to this event by our friend Andrew. And then again by Heather who was a fellow tail walker with Mary, at the previous Saturday’s parkrun and a regular with me on the weekly Eden Runners Lowther trails outings. It turns out that Rob Heron is her son so I guess I should not have be surprised to see several Eden Runners in the audience

The venue is a quirky combination of art gallery, cafe and puppet theatre. We decided to book ourselves a pre-gig meal which was excellent, very tasty vegetarian supper: starter, main and a glass of wine for very modest price.

Normally the performances would be in the theatre but that was occupied by an interesting art exhibition of totem poles made from tin cans and other found artefacts. Instead half the cafe was cleared of tables and the seats lined up in what is normally an exhibition space.

The first act, Tommy, performed an excellent blues set. All his own compositions full of suitably downbeat themes of heartbreak and despair. He was far too self-deprecating and really should have more confidence in his talent.

At one point the host and compere suggested from the back of the room that Tommy might like to introduce the songs, let us know that he wrote them all himself and give a little bit of background as to how they came about. Sound advice. One of the advantages of a live concert is that you get to hear the story behind the songs: what inspired them, who they were inspired by, what they were about. 

We then had an a break and an opportunity to refill our glasses or take a stroll around the art exhibition in the theatre space.

Rob Heron played a very different kind of set, very country music influenced. Has he said if you don’t like country music then you’ve been listening to the wrong kind of country music. He was a much more confident and sleek performer. The songs were all much more lighthearted and upbeat not to say humorous. Interesting contrast to the first act.

All in all a fun and entertaining evening out. 

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