28 January 2020 (gig)
28 January 2020
Frank Turner was just one of over twenty talented musicians singing ‘I Fought The Law’ back and forth with a sold-out Oslo crowd.
It marked the finale of Americana Clash, the opening event of 2020’s AmericanaFest UK.
A six-piece band controlled proceedings as guests provided vocals on 17 The Clash classics.
The sweaty crossover experience was a fundraiser for The Joe Strummer Foundation and Hackney Winter Night Shelter.
Curse of Lono’s Felix Bechtolsheimer opened with ‘London’s Burning’, leading off a procession of the unexpected.
Dutch singer Judy Blank made ‘Rock The Casbah’ feel like an arena pop song, performing dance moves whilst wearing a pilot outfit.
Peter Bruntnell brought a contrasting delivery to ‘Lost In The Supermarket’, but his minimalist shuffling also fit the event’s vibe.
Strong female performers were vital all night, with Lady Nade, Canadian guitarist Terra Lightfoot and Kyshona leading into Elles Bailey as the sparkly singer instigated an audience sing along with ‘This Is Radio Clash’.
Ferris & Sylvester, Bob Harris’s Emerging Artist Award winner at this year’s Americana Awards, made ‘Train In Vain’ feel like a song from their own harmony-packed catalogue.
Many of these artists may have been unfamiliar to the crowd, but Irish Mythen’s powerful persona and mighty voice quickly made herself memorable before Danny Champ performed ‘Clampdown’.
The band rested while The Wandering Hearts, a previous emerging artist winner, transformed ‘White Riot’ into a beautiful 3-part melody with one microphone and one guitar.
The band returned to back Grace Petrie, even if the tiny singer would have preferred a tribute to Avril Lavigne or Taylor Swift.
It did not stop her from slaying The Clash’s ‘Hitsville UK’ – then singing “We are never ever ever getting back together” before leaving the stage.
The band’s bass player Michelle Stodart from The Magic Numbers stepped into the spotlight to tackle ‘Guns of Brixton’ and its iconic bassline, before Austin Lucas’s take on ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’.
Frank Turner has headlined Alexandra Palace, but felt just at home nailing two The Clash songs in an intimate Hackney club with just one rehearsal, although I wonder if any practice is really needed for the universal ‘London Calling’.
The night finished with a long list of thank yous before the tiny stage was crammed with everyone returning to round off the night’s charitable work with the karaoke classic ‘I Fought The Law’, with smiles all around as people enjoy themselves whilst making money for two good causes. There can’t be better ways to spend a Monday night in January.