Thea Gilmore

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Thea Gilmore

Thea Gilmore

Posted: 01 May 2017

Thea Gilmore, Sage Gateshead, 30 May 2017


Image by Idil Sukan


30 May


Thea Gilmore opened a short tour at Sage Gateshead three days before the launch of her fourteenth studio album, ‘The Counterweight’.  

Nine of the 18 songs from the record featured in a 90-minute set and with good reason. Perhaps the most thought-provoking social commentator on the modern music scene, Gilmore offered her art as a torch in the darkest of times. 

The opening song of the evening and the new album, ‘Fall Together’ was a statement of intent, one that indicated that, as to be expected of a Gilmore gig, this was to be a concert where concentration was required to keep up with one of the sharpest thinkers around. Starting simply on piano (played by Thea’s husband Nigel Stonier who has worked extensively with the north-east’s own Lindisfarne, especially Rod Clements), electronic layers were subsequently added to by violin and cello but it was the lyric that provided an ominous warning of what was to come.

While Thea lightened the mood a little at times – including when her 10-year-old Grade 4 violin son Egan joined the band for three songs – there was no escaping that this was a heavy evening full of the deepest material. 

This is the work of a powerful, intelligent artist, one with a truly beautiful voice and a heart of equal magnificence – but one that is aching with what she is witnessing with the senseless killings and selfishness we are all currently enduring. 

Returning for an encore Thea delivered the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit ‘Bad Moon Rising’. Featured on her 2005 album ‘Loft Music’ this is a pared-back, slowed-down version of the song covering the already dark lyric like a shroud. 

Following this with a final song from ‘The Counterweight’ ‘The War’ is a song reacting to the murder of MP Jo Cox. 

At the end you could hear a pin drop. It was the sort of silence you get for three or four seconds at the end of a great play, before the applause starts. It is in those moments of silence after great works of art that you comprehend you have just witnessed something immensely powerful.

It amazes me that for all her critical acclaim and radio airplay Thea Gilmore still can’t quite fill the smaller Hall Two of Sage Gateshead. To me Thea Gilmore should be on anyone’s ‘must see’ list.


Rob Mason



 

 

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