Monday 29 July 2013

Melissa James - Gallery in a Gig

Melissa James
Life imitating art or vice versa, you take your pick. Either way this was an offer I couldn't refuse.
If you find yourself in an Art Gallery that served wine, surrounded by beautiful pictures of birds, musical script and amongst friends you're virtually guaranteed a good time. Add the potent ingredient of Melissa James and it could almost be a fool proof hit.

Ross Lorraine - Keys
We all have a self destruct button though. Last Thursday (24/07/2013) I was the guest of gig addicts Dr and Mrs Fizzy alongside their classy chaperone Sarah Hadland. Despite everything panning out perfectly in the sweet evening air of Bethnal Green that said button was pressed. Wine went flying, glass after glass hitting the Café floor but everything calmed with Melissa James' opening gambit. Aptly titled 'Don't You Keep Yourself Down' (Free download Here) it stopped our reckless behaviour and reduced the imbibing rate just in time.

Giorgos Paphitis - guitar
Supporting the charity Small Steps Project this was the first in a series of gigs in Galleries across London. A tour that suits two of my strongest passions but what impressed me most of was the lightness of sound and sentiment from Melissa James herself. It would be easily to overcook the theme particularly in this café environment too. Like her songs James has a beautiful lingering sound that lives with you well after the event itself. Connoisseur Dr Fizzy explained to me that James is his bedtime choice...' a voice that lifts me into the arms of Orpheus'.

Rowland Sutherland - Flute
Melissa James was joined on the warm lit stage of the Café Gallery by Giorgos Paphitis (Guitar), Ross Lorraine (Keys) and Rowland Sutherland (Flute). It was particularly the entry of the latter for 'Precious Time' that lifted our eyes to the skylight above. We saw the birds hanging high in London's hazy blue and we escaped the capital's clayed feet. Not for long! Enticing us back into her embrace we submersed ourselves in 'Old Mother London' once again. A haunting song, co-written with Tom Robinson, we hope they will perform it together for their final Gig in a Gallery event at The Queen of Hoxton on the 30th October 2013.

Kaz Simmons
London spilled in around us on this eve and our support singer, Kaz Simmons, danced barefoot with her too. Inspired by the radio station London 94.9, she treated us to the wonderful self penned 'For the Love of the Big L' and if by magic a siren from the Old Ford Road elbowed itself into the venue and joined in the celebration.  Adding a little Brazilian spice to the evening Simmons said her farewells with 'Teco-Teco' and we stopped ourselves from dancing amongst the cafe's tables with difficulty. There was a huge sigh of relief from the waitress though, not because of the sheer embarrassment of mine and Dr Fizzy's imminent gyrating but because she didn't want to mop up another bottle of wine from the floor.

Check out Melissa James' GIG IN A GALLERY tour here and her beautiful flowing songs at her website -



  1. Yet again as talented with a pen for drawing or writing a report! A superb account by Alban of the musical delights of the first Gig in a Gallery from the fabulous Melissa James and friends supporting her small steps charity project. A taster of even greater things to come...

  2. Re-reading this excellent review we must also mention the superb 'Old Mother London' song towards the end of Melissa's set, co-written with the Great Tom Robinson, stalwart of independent musicians, supporting the project and performing himself at the Queen of Hoxton 'Gig in a Gallery' event on the 30th October

    PS Love Melissa's music when wide awake as well!