Gig 16: Scott Matthews, Beth Rowley / Islington Assembly Halls / 20.04.12

Walking into Assembly Hall – I’m struck by the beauty of the place – it’s gorgeous. I have a theory that Scott is actually a bit of a diva – he refuses to play anywhere that doesn’t have one or more chandeliers.

Beth Rowley is on stage when I arrive. I find Wist and we settle down for the night’s festivities.

I’ve seen Beth play before – at a festival I was working at a couple of years ago. Back then, she was playing with a full band. Tonight there was only a guitarist on stage to back her.
Her voice is really strong – so many great female singers spring to mind when you hear her that you begin to imagine a delicious choir. Unfortunately – her greatest strength is also her greatest weakness – she could be one of any number of singers. She doesn’t sound different, or groundbreaking or original. Her harmonica playing was great – proving herself to be a very talented musician as well as singer.
I recognised a couple of tracks – but as expected – it was a mostly new set. Certainly enjoyable but I can’t imagine myself actively seeking her out to watch another Beth Rowley set.

Scott came out to huge applause – it turns out there are other people more obsessive than Wist. Who’d have thought it. Scott was in high spirits – cracking a smile on more than one occasion… considerably more than we witnessed at Bush Hall earlier on in Project 22.

It felt like ‘his’ gig – he owned the set and subsequently owned the room. The band were unbelievable and Scott was gracious – allowing each of them their own space to embellish and riff. Hugely talented musicians – they not only understood when it’s best to just give the track some space or when to fill – but they also somehow knew what the other members were also going to do…

There was no cello this gig – but it didn’t matter. Scott’s voice was thick and warm and filled the space once filled by cello perfectly. U
Unfortunately I popped outside during my favourite track – city headache – and only caught the final chorus and verse. He played for an hour and a half – a huge set – but it all felt over too quickly. Outstanding.


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