Ian Siegal – Jazz Cafe, London – 28th March 2015

The support act tonight was Niall Kelly and his band.  Nially Kelly plays guitar and sings and is backed by his wife on violin and vocals plus a guitarist, bassist and drummer.  By the time they start, not long after the doors open, the venue is already fairly busy and continues to fill up steadily through their set.

It’s a great set that includes Americana, Country and Rock influences to the music.  They really do go down well with the crowd – so much so that when their 30 minute set came to an end they’d already started packing away before the loud demands from the crowd for another song resulted in them setting things back up and giving the crowd what they wanted.  An excellent start to the night.

By the time Ian Siegal came on, the venue was so packed that moving wasn’t really an option.  Tonight is the second to last show on the tour, and as he tells the audience, a lot of his friends and family are there, so it has the feel of an end of tour party.  He kicks off with one of his own songs, that features on his latest album (One night in Amsterdam), but it’s not long before the first of the covers gets thrown into the set – a bit of James Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” which really gets the crowd going.  That sets the pattern for tonight – a mix of Ian Siegal’s own songs and cover versions.

We get songs from Prince (Sexy MF), James Brown, Tom Waits (Jockey full of Bourbon), Bob Dylan (I shall be released), Eric Von Schmidt (Baby let me follow you down) and Tom Russell (Gallo Del Cielo).  The end of tour party feel was reinforced by him bringing on some guests – and clearly the details hadn’t been planned in advance as on both occasions he had to wait for them to get to the stage after being announced.  For the first guest spot he brought on Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg from the band Bones to do a jam.  At the end of the night he brought Niall and Caitlyn Kelly on stage to do the Bob Dylan cover “I shall be released”.

Ian Siegal has a very intimate style and comes across as very down to earth as he talks to the audience, laughs at himself for not knowing how to change the settings on the amp he’s borrowed for the night (having blown up two on the tour) or deals with noisy people talking during the set.  Musically he does quite a few jams or medleys where he thows in a bit of another song, or just moves from one song to another without any pause.

Ian Siegal put in a superb two-hour set that went down a storm with the fans.  If you’ve never seen him before then he is definitely well worth going to see when he tours next.  In the meantime, check out the “One night in Amsterdam” album for an idea of what to expect.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.