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Pete Atkin >> Gigs >> The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
(Message started by: Pete Atkin on Today at 14:51)

Title: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Pete Atkin on Today at 14:51
Back at the always amazing and recently-triumphant-in-NY (along with S. Wallace) Barb Jungr's cabaret venue at New Greenham Arts near Newbury, Berks., we can offer you something a bit different.   It's a world premiere of the Pete'n'Sarah show entitled (for we needed a title) 'Bright Lights Tonight'.  It's a two-person (well, three, since Mr Wallace's involvement is critical) extravaganza of songs featuring the two of us in one integrated set with individual contributions from our usual repertoire mixed up with and framed by many duets, most of them pop songs, both more and less well known, from various eras, chosen because we like them and because they work well for us singing in harmony.  Some of our solo offerings will also feature material that each of us is less well known for.  

To be brutally honest, we thought it might be a way to try to slip our regular stuff past audiences that might not be so easily persuaded to turn out for either of us on our own, and to make ourselves perhaps bookable by some different kinds of venue. We have been having a blast trying out, rehearsing, deciding, chaning our minds, having exciting new ideas, etc., etc. I hope the fun we've been having will communicate itself to one and all and that the reult will be  acceptable to even the most hardcore of our personal followings.  It would be great if some MVs might be tempted along to let us know what you think.


Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by andyw on Today at 17:01
Like many MVs, I'd gladly go all the way to Dulwich (see other thread) to see Pete Atkin, but I doubt if anyone wants to go to Newbury to see that fella "Pete Atkins"

Title: I want to see the Bright Lights Tonight
Post by Leslie Moss on 23.04.09 at 18:54
I really do - just trying to work out whether I can make the Newbury or the Dulwich gig. If (as I gather) the Dulwich gig is longer, then I'm going to try for that.


Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Alan Manton on 18.05.09 at 16:15
A Voice In The Wilderness

A little late perhaps but I thought you would all appreciate a brief review from the world debut of Pete Atkins (sic) at Barb Yungr’s Blue Hours Club at the New Greenham Arts on Friday 15th.  I’m fairly sure that I was the only Midnight Voice in attendance.  I was certainly the only one to crash the stage afterwards to talk to the star of the show.

The evening was excellent but not without its disappointments.  I visited this venue when Pete first performed there a few years back and was impressed with the delightful Barb Yungr.  Her voice is a subtle blend of velvet and a small seismic event.  Wonderfully dry humour to interlink the songs.  Unfortunately this performance was only witnessed by just over 30 people by my count.  Apparently this was due to aclash with the Newbury Arts Festival a few miles down the road.  The club is usually full to about 120 capacity.  Undeterred, however, we all attempted to applaud four times more enthusiastically.

The next, and by far bigger disappointment came at the end of her set when she announced that Pete would be singing accompanied only by Simon Wallace on Piano and not by Sarah Moule which of course had been the main reason for the gig in the first place.  This answered my nagging doubt as to how the duo were both going to sit on the same stool and use the same mic.  The poor lady had been suffering from a bad bout of bronchitis for the last two weeks and singing was definitely not an option.

Pete strode on undaunted and proceeded to echo Barb’s apology and gave a brief explanation to the assembled thronglet that he usually performed solo but that tonight should have been very different but was actually going to be – well slightly different…

Practical Man

Familiar territory to begin the show with Pete performing alone on the stage with just his black Atkin guitar for company.

Thirty Year Man

As the applause died down, Simon Wallace strolled along the back of the stage to accompany Pete for this one.  After all these years we are all fairly familiar with Pete’s piano work here so it’s a subtly different experience when the brindled crew-cut and silk lined jacket are transferred to Simon.

The Way You Are With Me

Apparently only the second time out in public for this Atkin/James composition accompanied by both piano and guitar.  It’s a love song – as much as Clive’s ever are I suppose – with (to my ears) a simple chord structure and some lovely keyboard flourishes.  I certainly look forward to becoming better acquainted with this one.  

Save The Last Dance For Me

Back to the sixties next for Pete’s take on the Drifters hit.  He related the tales of when he used to discuss the merits of various pieces of music with his friend Malcolm in class, in between bouts of flicking each other’s knees (yes really) and being suitably punished.  They were both of the opinion that the singer in the Drifters’ version was a bit of wimp and did not deserve to get the girl anyway.  More recently, Pete’s thoughts have turned to this once again and now considers that the gentleman should have been much more aggressive.  Pete delivered the song thus with an almost Black Funk Rex sneer throughout, accompanied by the piano.  Brilliant! I will never view the original with the same affection again.

Have You Got A Biro I can Borrow

Back to more familiar territory with a slightly slower, more measured version than the original.  Guitar accompanied and sung with a capital ‘B’ throughout.

Between Us There Is Nothing

I’m sure that something rather fine happened in the piano accompaniment during this one but I cannot decipher my written-in-the-gloom notes so let’s just assume it was very good.

Trying To Get To You

Way back to 1954 for this one.  Known to those familiar with Elvis Presley Sun recordings of 1955 but actually originally performed by a band called The Eagles several years before a another lot hijacked the name and sang about some US west coast hotel…  Pete performed this as a straight rhythm and blues with guitar and piano being accompaniment.  Simon coped seamlessly after Pete suggested “Let’s do it in B natural” just before they started.

Razor Boy

I share Pete’s enthusiasm about Steely Dan and was excited to hear his slow and moody debut cover of this track from the ‘Countdown To Ecstasy’ album.  Wonderful.

Sunlight Gate

Another slightly slower and more measured approach to one of his very best songs with the opening line from each verse being almost divided into three phrases.  Guitar only.

Empty Tables

Piano accompaniment for one of the best, newer, leaner Atkin/James songs.  Pete suggested that the table in question could be located by the Thames, a little downstream from Tower Bridge.

The Original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues

Very familiar territory for the ‘official’ set closer with all the usual stories about children’s encyclopaedias.

Touch Has A Memory

I’ve always loved this song and Simon’s beautiful piano just enhance Pete’s choice of encore further.

And that was that.  The small but selective audience was very appreciative, applauding or listening enthusiastically as appropriate throughout.  It was disappointing to not hear Sarah’s input to the evening but I still left with a broad smile on my face, having still seen a rather unique gig.

And that Pete Atkins bloke?  Why he seems just as good as the other guy who I have seen so many times over the years…


Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Seán Kelly on 18.05.09 at 20:37
Great Stuff Alan - many thanks indeed!

Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Jon Philpot on 25.05.09 at 18:58
Sounds like an interesting reading of 'Save the last dance for me', which was of course written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. It was apparently based on Pomus' personal experience of having polio, needing to use crutches to walk and therefore unable to dance with his wife, who was an actress and dancer. Could make you aggressive, I guess!


Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Pete Atkin on 25.05.09 at 19:49
My take was that the singer is a rather nasty, domineering, threatening even, and possibly violent control-freak, sneering at the 'sparkling wine' stuff and dismissive of the wimps she seems to want to spend the evening with.  Try it - it does make sense, I think.

Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Ian Ashleigh on 25.05.09 at 19:58
I was once told that it was a song of unrequited love.  The guy was watching the hoped-for love of his life dancing with all and sundry in the hope that she would dance with him at the end of the evening and go home with him.  There is a very mournful version, by whom I cannot remember, that illustrates this.

Title: Re: The Blue Hours 15th May 2009
Post by Pete Atkin on 25.05.09 at 23:10
It has to be more than 'hope' that she'll go home with him, doesn't it?  "Don't forget who's taking you home and in whose arms you're gonna be" sounds positively insistent to me.

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