• Amy

LIVE REVIEW: Chris Helme (The Seahorses) & Nigel Clark (Dodgy) @ St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth


Support from Danny R & Paul Gillings, Mark Stevenson and Sons of Mark

This was only my second time back in Yarmouth in the past 10 years. The place looks tired, both the bricks & mortar and the people. It needs a massive overhaul and some serious TLC. Reflecting on how sorry the place looked got me questioning if the Culture Vulture lads would be wasting their time investing in bringing music to a place like Yarmouth. Initially I thought yes, why not just do this in Norwich somewhere that already has an established music scene but then I got to thinking maybe Yarmouth is exactly the right place for it. How can somewhere ever establish a music scene if everyone writes it off? The St George Theatre is a charming little venue nestled in the heart of this seaside town with tall wooden ceiling, a sizable stage and warm homely feel. I'm not sure it'd be the right place for a death metal gig but for a chilled out acoustic night it was perfect. Upon talking to a few people outside whilst waiting for doors to open I discovered most had travelled from outside Yarmouth for the event which can only be a positive thing.

On to the gig, I'm a little bit heartbroken because I always take a notebook to gigs I’m reviewing to write down bits about the set list or little stories the artist tell that I want to make sure I include, however, somehow in the chaos that was Reef the following night I managed to lose it and my old lady brain is that bad it struggles to remember what it walked to Tesco for! The sound for each artist was definitely memorable just unfortunately any stories or quirky bits might get missed!

Danny R and Paul Gillings

Award winning harmonic player Paul alongside singer/guitarist Paul.

These were a great way to start the evening. They offered a relaxed country infused folk sound. I'd not been able to find Danny and Paul on Spotify so was unsure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised they had a familiar sound that was easy on the ear with a very likeable on stage dynamic.

I don't think I've ever seen someone play a harmonica for an entire 30 minute set before, this can’t be an easy task so I was suitably impressed! I can imagine them fitting in very nicely on the Cambridge Folk Festival line-up.

Vocally strong and musically captivating they are definitely a pairing I’d like to investigate more.

Mark Stevenson

I'd listened to Mark previously when researching our Sounds of a City: Peterborough playlist and really enjoyed his raspy vocals and chilled out sounds.

Mark's style sounds like it could be straight out of Tennessee borrowing heavily from country music. Mark's music has perfect summer vibes which make you wish you were cruising around in the sunshine with the "hood down" it could make even the cloudiest day feel like summer.

His most popular song on Spotify, Santa Fe was an absolute gem live. Mark appeared a quiet, humble man with a massive voice and a sound that just made you feel good.

Sons of Mark

I listened to Sons of Mark recorded on the way to Yarmouth and I must admit I didn't expect their acoustic sound to be quite how it was.

Recorded they sounded like pure Britpop, the type of band Noel Gallagher would have really championed back in the day similar to Smaller or The Real People however live and acoustic they sounded a lot more mellowed and less indie which wasn't a bad thing just not quite what I expected.

Brothers Glen and Owen have mastered breath taking harmonising, while their brotherly bond and rapport is very clear to see on stage. Like with the other acts, their sound is relaxed, feel good music. I very much enjoyed their set and hope next time to catch them with a full band.

Nigel Clark (of Dodgy)

What a character! Nigel hobbled on stage telling us how he'd hurt his knee and was sporting some ice wrapped round it. Then later in the set he proceeded to tell how water was running down the back of his leg which definitely raised a smile. He also swore a lot, which he apologised for but continued to do! You could definitely tell he'd been in the industry a long time the way he oozed confidence but not in an arrogant way, I bet if you met him down the pub he'd be a top bloke to have a beer with!

This is where not having my notes is a pain. I'd written song titles down and names of cover versions which my memory simply isn't good enough to remember boo! He played a few covers and a few off his new record, including one about the Tories ruining the country, all of which sounded great. He also played some Dodgy tracks which were pretty much a given, Staying Out for the Summer, In a Room and Good Enough so all the classic hits which sounded great and really suited being acoustic. They also gave the crowd a nice chance for a singalong which is always welcomed!

I've seen Dodgy live once and now I definitely have the itch to want to go see them again!

Chris Helme (formerly of The Seahorses)

Again what a character! In a different way to Nigel but still bursting with personality and stage presence. At regular points he addressed the audience telling us how he didn't have much time and the gig needed to end at 11 sharp but still proceeded to tell us lengthy stories between each song!

I never got to see the Seahorses live as I was still a bit too young for gigs but I played Do It Yourself to death so to finally hear songs from that record live, albeit acoustic, was incredible. Like with Nigel he played a mix of covers and solo stuff along with Seahorses songs. At regular points asking the crowd what they wanted to hear, with one chap shouting "You Can talk To Me" to which Chris replied asking what he'd like to talk about.

The Seahorses songs included in the set were Hello, Blinded by the Sun, Love is the Law and Boy in the Picture the later mentioning Sally and Smokey which now, after 20 odd years, I know were ponies!

Again great set, great nostalgia and I loved every second.

For the encore Nigel joined Chris for So Let Me Go Far and You Can Talk to Me, a perfect ending to a perfect night.

Another great event from Culture Vulture, nice to see music being brought to a place that has been overlooked for years.

Keep up to date with events at St Georges Theatre, Great Yarmouth HERE