St Pancras Old Church has a history that, apparently, goes back to the 4th Century AD although the current church was built in the 1800’s and it has been hosting occasional concerts for many years.

Last night we had short sets by Mark Harrison – solo – and Pat Dam Smyth who has a three piece string section and drums to go with his guitar and piano. A capacity crowd was treated to very different styles and seemed to enjoy them both – all told a fine evening of music.

Mark Harrison was playing his 1934 Resonator in the main plus a 12 string for ‘Crematorium Blues’.
Live, Harrison is an education in the Blues but not in any preachy way. His short set included little stories about the music and even an explanation of why his guitar sounds the way it does and the crowd responded warmly.
He played songs from his latest album and also from the ‘Crooked Smile’ album and included a delightful ‘Your Second Line’ and ‘Crematorium Blues’ as well as ‘Panic Attack’ and ‘Marching On’. His ‘Greenwood’ was chilling. The audience appreciated the music and he showed that a solo voice with a guitar can actually capture and enthral a crowd of around 100.

Pat Dam Smyth is a remarkable presence – bearded and dressed in black, he owns the stage and your eyes cannot drift away from him.
He had a three piece string section and drummer to go with his guitar and piano.
He featured numbers from his debut album and the crowd was into the music from the off – whooping and cheering and filling the old church with noise.
An excellent performer, his music is lively and emotive. Standout number was ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ which clearly comes from his heart and a wonderful version of ‘Willows Song’ from the Wicker Man movie.

Opening act on the night was Mick O’Reagan whose folky protest songs were honest but a little dated and in between was the pairing of Winspear & William who were sounding a little anaemic until they were joined by a flautist to fill out their harmonies and give them some punch.

I love the venue and both Mark Harrison and Pat Dam Smyth played memorable sets – all in all a great way to spend a Friday night.