My blogs have become scarce but not yet extinct. On Friday I travelled to Bristol with my daughter Shan to see Gangstagrass. To make this more interesting the RMT Union called a National Rail Strike. Our journey to Bristol still looked possible but the following day rail return was not. Contingency plans in place I set out in new trousers and headed for Shan’s to begin our journey..
The gig was to be held at the Thekla. A unique venue, a ship moored in Bristol Harbour and the ideal location for my first time at a Gangstagrass gig. A bluegrass hiphop band with a pedigree band as singular as its host ship. Harmony in their music reflects in their lyrics which surge with positivity and promotes co-operation over division.
The support act joined the stage with two acoustic guitars and played them together. My thoughts contrasted my difficulties co-ordinating my legs just to stand and watch, with the seemingly effortless ease he played his guitars. After his set I found somewhere to sit down hoping that would be enough rest my knees and be ready for the main set. Shannon bought herself a two pint cocktail, both hand clutched it to keep it safe. We bought Gangstagrass tshirts and rather than carry mine I put it over the one I was wearing. Unfortunately, my Parkinson’s awkwardness decided to introduce itself and the shirt was somehow twisted at the back. Luckily I had Shan to help otherwise I might still have been getting it on when the gig finished.
Gangstagrass hit the stage with instant harmonies on, “Do better” a common sense message combined with a slice of optimism before the invite “Ride with you” to face problems together. The energy was immediately apparent, but it was more than that. Even a sad song “Never go home,” was joyous.
The sound was excellent Shan said she could clearly hear the individual’s instruments and she was particularly impressed with the impish Brian Farrow on fiddle. About 4 years ago Shan completely lost her hearing and although she has a cochlear implant the consultant could not confirm how music would sound to her. Sometimes sounds merge and splurge out of speakers with nuances completely lost. Covid stopped her exploring live music. This was not the first band she has seen recently but it the first I have accompanied her where enjoying herself had clearly taken over from trying to listen. Perhaps the unusual venue helped as she could feel the music in its vibration.
The songs kept coming interrupted only by a shout out by the band for me. My legs had forgotten their dismay at supporting my weight and paused their complaints. The songs kept coming with a consistent flow of excellence, the apparent disparate elements blended effortlessly. Raps and a banjo seemed to compliment each other so well I wondered why nobody else was doing it
The performance was excellent but what for me made this a night I will always remember was the excited smile of my daughter that lit up the room. The music I worried had been taken from her was still there.
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