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Gig Review: David Berkeley at Paper Dress Vintage
On Thursday night (9th June) David Berkeley played at the intimate Paper Dress Vintage shop in Hackney to a small but avid crowd, performing a mixture of tracks, both old and new. His current tour launches the new album Cardboard Boat, which is out now.
Interestingly, the carefully constructed tracks were interspersed not only by his relaxed discourse with the audience, but also with extracts from his book The Free Brontosaurus, which accompanies the album. The 10-part novella mirrors the 10-song album, with the record taking up the perspective of a different character from the book in every song, allowing Berkeley to explore the story, the people and the revelations from a broad ranging platform of both music and literature. The project works extremely well. The passages fit right in with the red lamped, laid back mood of the gig and grounded the rich tracks.
Berkeley´s music is reminiscent of the Greenwich Village folk musicians of Dylan´s time, a traditional full-voiced sound with intricate guitar lines and a gentle honesty throughout. He has a mournful tone, and as he says himself a complete lack of anger that makes his sound soothing and pleasant, although potentially lacks a flame at times. Paper Dress Vintage was the perfect venue for Berkeley. The upstairs of a vintage shop, it has clothes along the walls and mismatched chairs, with a small stage, lighting and surprisingly high-tech sound. It had a great ambiance, despite the air conditioning unit’s best attempts to disrupt the contemplative music and mood.
To finish the set Berkeley was joined by his English counterpart Ben Parker. Together the two men make up Son of Town Hall, whose intricate harmonies were lush and resonant in their unplugged finale to the show. Simple yet powerful, this was arguably Berkeley at his best, as the combination of his American twang and Parker’s British lilt created an unusual but beautiful sound, as they perfectly offset the each other having crafted their duo on a raft.
You can catch Son of Town Hall at The Lucky Pig, Fitzrovia, London, on Tuesday 14th June, and at The Tin, Coventry, on Wednesday 15th June.
Have a listen to Wishing Well below!
Written by Molly Lempriere