The Lexington tonight and while The Borderline will always have a special place in my gig going... heart, The Lexington has become my favourite small venue in London. You’re close to the stage, rarely overcrowded down on the floor and the sound quality is excellent.
Strand of Oaks hail from Philadelphia with the huge bear of a man Timothy Showalter front and centre. Let’s not beat around the bush, he is a hairy man, think a super talented song writing Giant Haystacks with a subtle delicate voice at the bottom end coupled with real depth and emotion at the top.
He is joined on stage by one of the tightest rhythm sections I have seen, a metronomic drummer who also has the fills to enhance the songs along with a bass player whose hand rarely leaves the top end of the bass. Stand out member of the group however is Eliza Jones, the keyboardist who has one of those classic female country folk voices that blends so well with Tim’s.
After early albums of acoustic led Americana, new album Heal finds the power socket and the dial is firmly set to ten. It’s no bad thing when the songs are this good. There is light a shade tonight although the highlights are the emotional JM, a tribute to the late Jason Molina, Plymouth and Shut In which has to be song of the year in my mind.
There’s genuine emotion and gratitude to the fans on stage tonight and the band are clearly having a blast. It’s all over too quickly with the big man jumping off stage into the crowd and hugging the three of us, thanking us profusely for being there. It was our pleasure. They’re back again on the 27th at Hoxton. Be there, what else can you buy for £9. Keep on rockin y’all.