Patrick Widdess Reports on Shindig with Rue Royale, Subzar and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players at St Philip's 26th Jan 2013

SHINDIG - Rue Royale // Subzar // Retrospective Soundtrack Players

In the last year Shindig has broken the mould of the typical three-band gig format combining quality musical and spoken word acts with intriguing side attractions including art exhibitions and, on this occasion, freshly cooked food from CB1 Cafe, and the Cambridge Poetry Stall selling a plethora of local and obscure poetry publications and CDs. The event moves round different venues taking advantage of the ambiance and fine acoustics of churches around the city.
Rue Royale
This month St Philip’s on Mill Road provided a spacious setting for an evening of sublime music and spoken word. Poet and author J S Watts introduced the event with a short reading and an introduction to the evening’s theme of narrative. The musical narratives of the first act Rue Royale, a husband and wife duo from Nottingham, had the audience instantly captivated. After ten years of marriage and over 600 concerts Brookln and Ruth Dekker can perform their delicate, exquisite songs with perfect synchronicity. Without even looking at one another they played starting to softly sing at the same precise moment, their voices entwining into one beautiful sound rich in nuances.
Next up were local band Subzar preceded by writer Emily Scialom reading an extract from her new book. The four-piece performed atmospheric instrumentals on guitar, cello and violin interspersed with crackly spoken-word recordings. Like Mogwai in a cheery mood the pieces provided a dreamy soundtrack to the abstract video montages projected on the back and to either side of the stage.
Fay Roberts
Fay Roberts filled the last spoken word slot. The writer, singer and performance poet delivered more than a simple reading, instead performing a brand new poem written that night using words suggested by members of the audience. She then performed a poem backed by Subzar’s guitarist, perfectly combining music and spoken word.
The Retrospective Soundtrack Players
Finally The Retrospective Soundtrack Players returned to the narrative theme of the night with their alternative soundtrack to the film Cool Hand Luke. After an evening of soft, gentle music the six-piece provided a rousing finale of banjo, harmonica, foot stamping and hollering along with more melancholy moments as scenes from the film played on the screens. Their tight country-folk-rock music was reminiscent of local favourites The Broken Family Band.

Shindig is the kind of event that attracts regular attendees regardless of whether they know the acts in advance or not and the performers tonight reinforced that outstanding and fast-growing reputation.

Writer and Photographer: Patrick Widdess