Becca Stevens Band, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 18 July 2016

We were keen to try a music concert as part of our “friendship” with The Globe and were intrigued by the Wonder Women live music series.

Top of our list of intriguing looking acts was Becca Stevens Band, conveniently billed for 20:00 on the fifth day of the Lord’s test, which we had booked out as leave in case the match turned out to be a five day thriller. It didn’t.

So, we enjoyed some tennis, sorted out stuff in Ealing and relaxed for most of the day, which was a scorcher. Then headed off to Southwark for this concert.

Not so easy to park near the Globe if you are arriving at 19:30 for a 20:00 event, although we spotted a few neat possibilities when we walked the five minutes back from the place we eventually found back down the road.

I had booked the box seats at the side of the stage – coincidentally known as Lords Rooms in Jacobean times – which is a good view for this type of gig.

Here is the Globe stub about the concert. Not least, it was the bit about “Appalachian folk, guitar, ukulele and charango” that attracted me.

Here is a link to Becca Stevens Band’s own website.

We really enjoyed this concert. The sound balance wasn’t quite right, with the drums dominating, which was a shame. Becca Stevens has a wonderful range to her voice – sort-of Vashti Bunyan meets Joni Mitchell, the latter unquestionably being a major influence on her own writing.

Becca Stevens herself comes across really nicely. As did the band, really; they all seemed genuinely moved (but not overawed) by the beautiful candlelit setting of the Sam Wanamaker. The keyboard player (Leon) harmonises vocally very well with Becca, as does the bass player (perhaps to a lesser extent).

Towards the end of the concert, Becca Stevens invited Jacob Collier (a rising star in the multi-instrumentalist, fusion music world, who looked about 12 but is in fact 21) to join her on stage for a duet arrangement of As by Stevie Wonder. Becca played charango and Jacob played double bass, to Becca’s express surprise (I think she expected him to pick up the bass guitar). They are working on a project together for a new album, which might well be very exciting…or possibly all over the place; probably the former. This rendition was clearly unrehearsed and somewhat work-in-progress, but still wonderful to see.

Here is a link to Jacob Collier’s website.

We had fun as an audience when invited to sing a backing vocal line a couple of times during the concert – once in the first half and then again second half with the “always” line in As.

The steward who was standing (and eventually sitting) next to us was very pleasant company and gave us some interesting insights as to how the Sam Wanamaker works, including the mechanism they use to replace the candles during the interval.

We’ll certainly be looking out for opportunities to see interesting music concerts at The Globe again. We’ll also be looking out for both the Becca Stevens Band and Jacob Collier.

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