PHV Unplugged at The Oranges, Ashford – 23/02/2012
Once a month The Oranges of Ashford, Kent becomes home to a night of acoustic music and home made food - a match made in heaven. Hosted by PHV Enterprises, Thursday the 23rd of February was one such night. It saw no less than seven acoustic artists play to a buzzing (a relaxed buzz of course) pub.
Opening the event was Mitch Emery. A slight false start gave way to a cover (or was that a hint to onlookers) of I Need a Dollar by Allo Black mixed with the track Volcanoes. Friendly and often funny commentary filled the time between songs which included a few originals ending on classic, Time of Your Life. It included an attempt to get the audience to join in – brave as the opener if nothing else.
Adam Jerome took the reigns after a slight jam with Mitch and launched into a strong set of original songs. Powerful vocals and fast guitar gave his music an urgent and driving feel in places. Adam impressed the audience with his performance, inspiring at least one member of the audience to track down his name. The set ended with many surprised ears with a great cover of Bon Jovi. It’s My Life floated through the air and rearranged many a face into a smile.
Next to play was Chris Marsh. A set of honest and meaningful material met listeners, brought to life by strong and passionate vocals. A constant stream of conversation surrounded the songs and kept the audience informed on everything. Even down to the lack of a nervous poo beforehand. Any nerves didn’t show and songs like These Streets stuck in your mind like a friend too drunk to drive home.
The Maidstone band The Soundcasters were next to wield instruments. They delivered a set in their unique style bringing a hint of the 60s to the pub. Comments like ‘this song is about a girl we don’t like very much’ only made you pay more attention to their lyrics. Their energy translated well acoustically and the set added a new vibe to the pub. The set closer, French Habit even got a sing-along.
Ted and Phil; not radio DJs but the next people to take up instruments. Based on their names alone however their radio show would be epic. With Ted Clarke supplying vocals and guitar complemented by Phil on violin the pair delivered a tender set. This contrasted well with The Soundcasters before them, making both sets standout. A guest female singer even sang on one track to further enhance the sets warm feel.
Luke Burgess followed this with another tender and charismatic set. A striking voice gave life to more honest and well told original songs. These were improved further by the modest nature of Luke himself, giving the set a warm feel. Experimenting he even had a go at tackling an Adele cover. Proving she hasn’t quite taken over the whole world the version missed a few words, but carried the songs sentiment well.
Bringing the night to a close was Blaise Paisel. The five piece squeezed into the space and delivered a powerful but intimate performance. Heartfelt vocals, build ups and energetic playing filled the pub with emotion and life leaving a mark on everyone present. A friendly and open feel was created by the bands banter while enjoyment was written across both the audience and their faces. Joining others like Chris Marsh in your head tracks like Promised Me Meadows hung around in your head long after.
The night was made by a great atmosphere and touching performances from all acts. The food only added to the experience resulting in the perfect way to spend a Thursday night. Not bad for three pound.
The next show will be on the 22nd March from 7.30pm, confirmed acts so far; Mitch Emery, Ben Russell and the Charmers and a farewell performance from Matt Appleby, make sure you arrive early if you want a seat!