Tag Archives: ColchesterArtsCentre

[Gigs] Chris Cleverley @ Colchester Arts Centre

Last night, Threehundredsongs spent a very enjoyable and inspiring evening in the convivial company of the enormously talented—not to mention luxuriantly coiffed—Mr Chris Cleverley:

Chris Cleverley on stage at Colchester Arts Centre

As an extra special treat, support was from local singer-songwriter, the magical Rosalind Harniess:

Rosalind Harniess on stage at Colchester Arts Centre

All in the majestic yet intimate surroundings of Colchester Arts Centre. For no more than a tenner a ticket, it’s hard to think of a better value Thursday night out.

23. Get a Wriggle on – HENGE

Great to see some new stuff from HENGE.

Well, they have travelled from the far corners or the universe, and from billions of years in the past (or future: they’re non-committal about the specifics) to share their message of good will and sage advice to all humans, so it would be rude of us not to take a moment to appreciate the totally bonkers wisdom and lore of the mighty HENGE.

HENGE have been observing the humans from afar for some time now, and find it difficult to understand how a life form so “advanced” could be so hell-bent on destroying its own host planet:

Zpor: “We should warn them”
Anonymous spaceship minion: “They already know!”
Zpor: “We should warn them again!”

And warn us they do, setting the co-ordinates for Planet Earth, and travelling with great haste through time and space to a playground in a Manchester park, wherein they disguise themselves as small children, hoping to “blend in”. What could possibly go wrong.

This is rather urgent, humans, you don’t have the time to waste!
It’s critically important, humans, that you now proceed with haste!
It will not be long before the ice melts and the gas escapes!
A tipping point is coming, humans, when your ecosystem breaks!

A small but perfectly-groomed army of mini-HENGElings are recruited, and proceed to plant a modest amount of earth-vegetation, collect some litter, and summarily berate Barry Shitpeas for dropping yet more litter. Suitably chastened, he picks it up and scampers away to safety. A dance routine—clearly choreographed by the child performers’ dads—breaks out, and one rap later…

Better get a wriggle on!
Better get up!
Better get arse in gear!
Shoulda got a grip by now!
Shoulda woke up!
You should not dither here!

…the earth is presumably saved for another year or two.

Threehundredsongs was lucky enough to see HENGE live whilst at work a week or two ago—along with a thumping support slot from Elf Traps. Happy memories of hanging with my super pal and colleague Charlotte while we somehow dealt with a room full of several hundred earthling humans who were, to use the medical parlance, tripping balls.

It would be easy to dismiss HENGE as a novelty act, but no. This is important stuff, humans. We only have one planet (though HENGE apparently have several, which seems a little greedy). Get a wriggle on!

And hand me a bottle of that youngulisation serum, please.

Artist: HENGE
Album: Alpha Test 4
Writer: Zpor (Earthly pseudonym: Matthew Whitaker)
Producer: HENGE
Released: 2023; Cosmic Dross Records

21. Hollow Point – Chris Wood

Threehundredsongs is just home from work, having had a magical evening watching the magnificent Chris Wood.

This song is the tale of the brutal, cold-blooded murder of an innocent man, Mr. Jean Charles de Menezes. Murdered by those we trust to keep us all safe.

Just a Brazilian electrician

Hollow point was the ammunition

Jean Charles de Menezes died, aged just 27, on the 22nd of July, 2005. Cause of death: multiple gunshots to the head, in broad daylight, in front of hundreds of humans.

Threehundredsongs lived just three minutes from Jean Charles’ flat at the time. The number of occasions that we would have boarded the exact same bus; the exact same tube; experienced the same disappointment of pitching up at Brixton underground, only to find it closed. For security reasons! The irony! It could have been any of us, but

It was a gorgeous summer’s morning,
It was a gorgeous summer’s day
His cotton jacket was all he carried
As he walked out to face the day

The line about the jacket is apposite: the guy was not a security threat. Yet he was summarily executed, without trial, in a country that supposedly does not have the death penalty.

After the show I talked with Chris, himself concerned that he hadn’t played enough folk music for our little folk night. But we asked and talked and thought: what is folk music? Simply because the events happened in our lifetime, does that mean it isn’t folk?

No, it really does not.

Hopefully 200 or more years in the future people will still sing this song, paying tribute to an innocent man, murdered by the forces that are supposedly there to protect the innocent.

Artist: Chris Wood
Album: Handmade Life
Writer: Chris Wood
Producer: Unknown. See credits.
Released: 2010; R.U.F. Records

4. Joanne – Zoë Wren

Soundtrack for the evening is Zoë Wren’s Inspired. Ostensibly a covers album, it’s clearly a very personal work for Zoë.

It’s kind of personal for me too. Not least because I got to meet Zoë on one of my very first shifts working at Colchester Arts Centre. Which is where I kinda fell in love with her, and loaded up on her impressive merch, in some sort of findom Stockholm Syndrome trance, presumably. But more accurately, she is a beautiful artist and thoroughly lovely person.

Which is the song? Well, Who Knows Where the Time Goes is a little too personal. We played the Fairport Convention original at my sister’s funeral and so I can’t ever listen to that song again. And nobody can ever come close to Sandy Denny anyway.

Can you cover a Joni Mitchell song and get away with it? Apparently so. Zoë’s interpretation of Both Sides Now nails it.

But I’ll go with Joanne. Apparently by Lady Gaga originally. Not an artist I’ve invested a lot of time in learning about, but the song is an emotional killer, and Zoë will show you why.

Artist: Zoë Wren
Album: Inspired
Producer: Tristano Galimberti
Released: 2019, Folkstock Records