The Jazz Bar’s crowd on Sunday the 12th August was a bit of a mix. Some were there to listen to the gig. Some were there to have a natter. Paul Gilbody did his best to carry on regardless, but he never truly overcame the banal conversations going on at the back of the room: they both just coexisted. It was a shame, because he’s an excellent performer.
He began his set solo with a loop eventually magnifying his voice into a five-strong backing chorus and beat-box over which he sang. His talent was obvious immediately; there were no faults in the loop, despite its complexity. Next he invited his band onstage, with whom he played a set in promotion of his recent ‘Eponymoose’ EP and his forthcoming album. He impressed with his tuneful vocal acrobatics throughout the set, while his guitar-playing was compelling, particularly during ‘Quicksand’. The band supported him sensitively, always in time and in tune.
There was a clear groove to ‘Naked In The Sea’, which he introduced amusingly in his hushed voice. It’s about trying new things, he said, after going to a nudist beach. ‘Swimming naked in the sea, you feel very small. Well, certain bits of you feel very small.’ His spoken interludes weren’t always completely audible, but they were charming; he smiled to himself at the memory of the Olympics’ 50km ‘comedy walk’ and self-consciously told us where we can buy his EP.
The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the penultimate number, ‘She Loves Sushi’, a silly, relaxed song with bags of personality. The rest of his set was great but there’s definitely something unique and special about the semi-rapped line, ‘Sake maki, tekka maki, cucumber roll’. The band shared goofy smiles and it was a nice moment.
In this set Gilbody proved himself to be a skilled performer and songwriter. He has two more Fringe gigs coming up at The Jazz Bar which are worth attending. However, those looking for a place to chat should note that this skilful performance doesn’t deserve to be shouted over. Any other bar will do for that.