Archive for the ‘Pentangle’ Category

Beck, Roberto Alagna, Pentangle: least loved gigs of 2008

January 1, 2009
Having raved about some great gigs I saw last year, it’s only fair to add that there were a handful which I didn’t enjoy – not one jot.

Notable among them were:

* Beck

* Roberto Alagna

* Pentangle

I’ll resist the temptation to go into detail – preferring to praise great music rather than whine about it when it doesn’t come off – but these three were among the least enjoyable live shows I’ve ever attended. In all three cases, I’m keen on the artists/legacy but was underwhelmed by the performances.

Gerry Smith

Pentangle in London: for this I miss the European football final?

June 30, 2008
Pentangle at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday didn’t engage me. I left at the interval to catch the end of the Euro 2008 football final.

I’d booked because I’m keen on early Pentangle recordings. The eponymous 1960s album is a classic; 2001’s Sweet Child is fine, too. I rate Bert Jansch’s 1960s heyday stuff, and his guitar picking has few equals.

I’m not averse to folk/roots music: I’ve swooned at gigs by folkies like Jim Moray, the Copper Family and the Waterboys. And Dylan’s early LPs are favourites round these parts.

The playing of the four-piece was competent-going-on-accomplished.

But therein lay my problem. I’m used to watching virtuoso players, whether in poprock, jazz, orchestral or whatever, who – and here’s the rub – take wing and visit exciting new places.

Pentangle’s music last night had too little invention, insufficient vitality for my liking. Even the solos, on guitar, bass and drums lacked ambition – they sounded pre-planned, improvisation-free. I found singer Jacqui McShee’s constant swooping, with nary a melisma-free line, irritating after only about ten minutes.

The first half sounded as if it could have been played circa 1970. Maybe the second half was different – brim-full of recent creative endeavour – but I’ll never know, as I escaped to catch the end of the final, which saw Spain claiming their rightful place at the peak of European football. Viva Espana!

Pentangle in London: music for grown-ups? Naah: it hurts to admit it, but it looked like folkpop for easily pleased nostalgic oldies to me.

Gerry Smith

Lovely gigs in 2008

April 4, 2008

After a couple of years in which my gigging became a bit narrowly focussed and predictable – mainly opera, with a bit of jazz, world and rock – 2008 is promising to be rather more richly eclectic. 

Having already seen three compelling gigs – Morrissey at the Roundhouse, Dorothea Roschmann singing Lieder at Vienna’s Musikverein, and Salome at Covent Garden, I’m keenly anticipating lots more varied shows, including several key musicians for grown-ups who’ve been on my must-see list for years:


April: Bjork     


May: Roberto Alagna; John McLaughlin


June: Don Carlo; Ariadne; Pentangle


July: Leonard Cohen; Marriage of Figaro


Dec: Cecilia Bartoli


Having re-found the taste for eclectic gigs, I’m eagerly looking for others – top live music for grown-ups is one of the greatest thrills of all.

   Gerry Smith