Sunday evening and I’m sat in a small rustic venue called the Green Note, London to catch a performance by Melissa James.
With its bare brick walls, natural lighting and the crackly-pop of 50’s music sweeping across the room, there was something intimate and secretive about the setting, its small wooden tables, topped with candlelight and hushed conversations – the mood of the Green Note, expectant.
Enter Vincent Burke to the red curtained stage and his collection of acoustic guitar songs, which I have to admit left some audience members surprised and questioning the meaning – in particular the song ‘He Paid To Have Himself Murdered’ – which if I have this right is the story of a man who takes a train and goes on a spiritual journey only to have himself shot by a sniper! With a voice like the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs (Ricky Wilson) and melodic guitar playing, Vincent joked “You are a lovely crowd, I haven’t been booed off yet!”
Joking aside there were a few songs of his that I would love to hear again ‘Yellow Guitar,’ ‘Stronger Than a Mountain,’ and ‘Goodbye’ all of which were very pleasant on the ear and I could tell that the audience were slowly warming to him.
If the night’s expectation had waned, all of that was completely blown away when Melissa James glided into the room. Stood slightly off stage, she made no announcement but simply sang the word ‘You’. As the note held traversed across the room, all eyes focused on the enchanting petite singer who opened up with new songs ‘The Unexplained’ and ‘Still.’
Backed by musicians Tom Gamble (Guitar), Ross Lorraine (Piano) and Paul Southern (Double Bass) Melissa gave a wonderful delivery on ‘Little Caged Bird’ a song from her debut album ‘Day Dawns‘.
Flitting like a nightingale through songs old and new, the captivated audience hung onto her every word. I thoroughly enjoyed the new songs played in particular ‘Games’ which had a waltz timing – very fitting for a song about hearts being played.
I absolutely adored Melissa’s performance of ‘Have a Good Day,’ with its New Orleans Blues feel and lyrics that puts a smile on your face “…the music moves right through my veins, when I walk my hips do the sashay, I feel I’m buzzin…I’m just high on this glorious day.” Looking around at the basking crowd it was clear to see they too were indeed having a good day!
As the 180mins performance drew to a close, I honestly could have happily sat through another hour of Melissa’s sweet melodies and was thrilled when the audienced asked for an encore, spurring Melissa on to sing ‘Hit The Ground’ a cover by Lizz Wright whom she’s a big fan of, before ending on a high with her own finger-clicking song ‘Sing.’
If you missed Melissa James‘ performance at the Green Note, fear not as the keen charity-fundraiser may well be hosting more pop-up music events this year (as previously done in 2013 for Small Steps Project) in aid of new charity Fixers.
For more information, please visit her website Melissa James
Green Note Set List – Melissa James
- THE UNEXPLAINED
- LITTLE CAGED BIRD
- DON’T YOU KEEP YOURSELF DOWN
- HAVE A GOOD DAY
- DON’T YOU EVER LET NOBODY DRAG YOUR SPIRIT DOWN (ERIC BIBB)
- HEY THERE
- LEARN TO LOVE
- LIVE AGAIN
- LOVE TAKING HOLD
- ON YOUR LONG WAY HOME
- LONG ROAD TRAVELLED
- HIT THE GROUND (LIZZ WRIGHT)