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A resolution broken
I had this idea that I would go to less gigs in 2012 and concentrate more on multi-band bills and festivals. This plan didn't even last a day, because by late afternoon on New Year's Day I found myself at the Hangover Lounge event in the Lexington, watching Pete Astor and Darren Hayman.
I hadn't seen Pete Astor for years, not since he was active as the Wisdom of Harry. In contrast to a lot of his work with his various bands, today's set was so intimate that he performed without amplification. It was just him, his acoustic guitar and a notebook full of lyrics, but the intimate nature of this reminded me how good his songs are.

Lack of amplification has been a feature of Darren Hayman's shows for quite a few years now, and today is a tiny bit different in that he is using a tiny Vox amplifier (I'd say 5W output) so he can use his four string semi-acoustic guitar. He now has such a huge catalogue of songs that he plays a completely different selection than the last time I saw him a few months ago. 'Little Arrow, Little Squirrel' - the charming song about the dogs in space - is the only overlap from the Ship's Piano set.
Today is also about January Songs, the project that he undertook this time last year when he succeeded in writing and recording a brand new song every day during January 2011. He only includes a couple of these in the set as the 'proper' January Songs shows are a couple of weeks away, but he does get Elizabeth from Allo Darlin to sing on I Know I Fucked Up, which may actually be the best song of the whole album and it was a definite highlight today. The really special thing was that he had brought a box of the January Songs CD, with each cover hand illustrated by himself whilst sitting downstairs in the Lexington. We could choose between pen and ink sketches of the Lexington's decor or Darren's lunch, but I have to say I'm very pleased with the hand drawn chandelier on my copy!

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