Saturday 21 October 2023

Gig review - Sunny War and Flora at The Slaughtered Lamb (+ Carla O'Neill upstairs)

 Since I had my surgery in August, I've not really been going to gigs too much. This weekend is different, tonight we've got tickets for Lloyd Cole at the Union Chapel, tomorrow night we are seeing the rather wonderful Whelligan at the Engine Rooms in Bow. We had Whelligan at the Mill Hill Music Festival and they were rather good. But we kicked off the weekend last night at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell, for American singer/songwriter Sunny War. At times it seems that the world of music is awash with female singer/songwriters doing music in the Americana style. I am not someone (contrary to what some internet trolls would have you believe) who is stuck in the past. I am constantly on the lookout for good new artists to see and listen to. I came across Sunny War last year, someone sent me a link to one of her videos and it was awesome. When I saw she was playing in the UK I was delighted. Even better was that it was at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. It is five minutes walk from Farringdon on the Thameslink line, so it was a really simple journey. For some reason, I've never been to the Slaughtered Lamb before. It is a big attractive pub, with a small downstairs venue. We ate at the pub first. Good pub fayre, I had fish and chips, which were excellent. 

First up was a young singer/songwriter called Flora. I don't think I've ever seen a more nervous singer, but she had no need to be nervous, she is an incredible singer. This is the best clip I found on Instagram (not from last night). She is well worth checking out. 

Then onto the main act. What attracted me to Sunny War is that she is not only an amazing singer, but also a brilliant blues guitarist. Most of the singer/songwriters in the Americana genre tend to strum plinky plonky tunes and sing over them, Sunny War not only plays amazing guitar licks, but even wrote a love song called 'Baby Bitch' to her guitar! I've not seen a show like it for a long time. In the gaps between the songs, she gives the impression of being completely untogether, shall we say disconnected from reality. She announced she'd only rehearsed with the drummer once, when she did a cover of The Beatles "She loves you" (not a cover like you've ever heard before), she announced that she couldn't remember all the words. Then she started to sing and any doubts you may have are blown away. 

When she was playing "She loves you", she stopped halfway through. She seemed in some distress and rather bizarrely announced she had a chilli in her eye. Once the chilli was removed, she continued, asking us to imagine the intermission had not happened.  I dragged a couple of friends down with me. I didn't know what to expect but they loved the show. When she played the last number of the set, she unplugged the guitar, switched off the amp and said she didn't know any other songs. A tumulous cheer for an encore eventually relented and a number was remembered. 

Check out her album here

Now, when the gig in the basement was finished, I thought the night (or at least the music) was over. We adjourned upstairs for a nightcap, before making our way home. A young singer called Carla O'Neill was performing for free in the main pub, doing a set of covers. She was exceptionally good, If you are having a party or an event and you need someone, I'd thoroughly recommend her. My friends Gary and Sue are bing Fleetwood Mac fans and this song really impressed them. She'd actually started it whilst I was in the loo and thought it was the band. 

We had a wonderful night. I'll be keeping an eye out for future gigs at the Slaughtered Lamb and will deffo be seeing Sunny War again. It reminded me of what I've been missing as I recuperated. 

And finally, if you like live music, don't forget that The False Dots are playing with The Silencerz next Saturday at the Bull Arts Centre in Barnet -  CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS 

Supporting musicians and venues is essential, but the biggest winner is you, because you have a great night out. 

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