05 December 2010 (gig)
07 December 2010
It is always sad to see a club end its life but the last ‘Sunday Supplement’ at Tropic At Ruislip was all the more poignant following the death of George McFall who had put so much effort into making Sundays as successful as the Friday night shows (which will be continuing all through 2011).
It was fitting though that the performer on Sunday was Ian Parker who had been championed by George for many years and his solo set was greeted by a small but very enthusiastic and friendly crowd.
Ian Parker has been developing as a songwriter over the last ten years or so, in his own words, “can be pretty depressing” but he is a terrific singer and guitarist and his songs are actually loaded with emotion and passion.
Hearing him playing with just his set of acoustics really focused on the songs and he seemed to enjoy the intensity of playing directly to the audience and without his usual band to hide behind.
Because the focus was so tightly on him he gave us some little vignettes of the stories behind the songs and once more, this made the whole experience very intimate and personal.
The songs ranged throughout his career, including a couple of new ones and some he hadn’t done for a while, and he switched between a couple of acoustic six strings and a gorgeous FR50 Fender Resonator plus a few samplers to allow him to accompany himself.
He opened with ‘Everything And More’ and we could tell that he was in the mood to play – his guitar picking was delightful, precise and fluid and he put over all the emotion he is justly famous for.
‘Told My Girl To Go Away’ – he explained that he told his then girlfriend to take a trip after an argument over his constant touring – was heartwrenching but he followed up with a new song ‘Humanity Blues’ on the Resonator which showed he may be in a happier place than in past days.
He chilled us to the bone with a sombrely beautiful version of ‘If It Must Be’ and then lightened the mood with another new one – ‘Your Basket Has Never Been So Full’.
The closing highlights included a heartfelt ‘Hallelujah’ and a revisit to an old favourite in Ben Harper’s ‘Power of The Gospel’ and shorn of any other instruments these two were twice as powerful as when they are played by a full band.
Ian is currently doing a number of very different setups – touring with the full band, his acoustic trio and now entirely solo.
He is one of the few young players who can cut the mustard in a variety of forms and it is more than a puzzlement to me as to why he isn’t up alongside the top selling male singer/songwriters.
What is less a puzzlement is why the clubs and larger venues all over Europe and the US are happy to book him to the extent that we rarely see him – he is engaging, talented and seems to genuinely enjoy the interaction with his audience – a real class act.