It’s cold out and the weather is foul, but uncharistically for a church, I’m not freezing. Or maybe it’s something else warming my bones, something in the air when The Wee Rogue takes to the stand. The alcove-come stage offers the perfect acoustics for the projection of Jamie’s powerful voice; the room falls silent when he starts playing. He seems to have increased in confidence and stature since I last saw him play in October, and although his solo tracks still glory in their thoughtful, calculated build-up and prose lyrics. His elongated songs and careful, targeted words evoke Regina Spektor and Laura Marling, but pared-back and stripped down.
Powan Presents are here with their lovely homemade biscuits, which is cool. I’d have turned up just for the biscuits; however, everybody graced with sentience in the room is watching Wee Rogue with utter concentration; when he sings “last night I sold my soul/to the devil”, and when the tempo changes and the guys from Rob St John join in with Wounded Knee on vocals… a little moment of musical perfection was born, if only for those gorgeous, enrapturing seconds.
Next up, Rob St John, another wonderfully intimate and heartfelt band; minimalist in the veins of Debutant or Bill Callahan. Either way, it’s great: emotive, challenging and genuinely lovely music. And finally, Ryan Francesconi pops up to play some beautiful acoustic songs. He sits on the stool, and monk-like, produces song after song of air-melding beauty. It’s not as if he’s playing the guitar, it’s as if he’s daubing sonic paint onto some invisible canvas; he’s completely consumed in producing these sounds, as if the audience isn’t there – and the audience, like some curious snubbed teenage fan, is only more enraptured.
Rating: The Wee Rogue DDDDD, Rob St John DDDD, Ryan Francesconi DDDD