Review: Simon Friend’s Seismic Survey at The Flowerpot, Derby
When compere John Atkin introduced the band with the words that this was going to be a gig that would live long in the memory, you had an inkling it was going to be something a bit special, writes Andy Darlington.
A huge cheer from a near-capacity audience went up as Simon Friend’s Seismic Survey took to the stage at The Flowerpot.
I’d seen Simon himself with The Levellers only a couple of weeks earlier, at Rock City. And one of my favourite live performances of all time was their 1994 Glastonbury headlining set.
Yet he looked just as at home on the tiny Flowerpot stage as on the Pyramid Stage – “walk with kings nor lose the common touch” and all that.
He sat down with his acoustic guitar, illuminated by four simple red lights above.
To his right was Paul Miro, also on guitar and a fantastic singer-songwriter I’ve seen several times performing in the duo Bloodsimple.
The pair were flanked by Mick Doyle – the other half of Bloodsimple and mandolin player in Neverland – and Andy Cooper on double bass, best known for playing alongside Mick in No Right Turn.
So, along with Simon, who also has local connections, there was no doubt that this foursome had formed something of a Derby supergroup. The gig was rather super, too.
The material had been penned by various members of the ensemble and I must confess I hadn’t heard some of it a great deal before – tunes such as There’s An Angel, My Lucky Day and Sugarloaf Mountain.
But it was all beautifully played and sang, with some lively banter in between numbers, especially from Paul, who you could argue really led the show.
I was on more familiar territory with Levs numbers, such as Is This Art?, Julie, Hope Street and Battle Of The Beanfield, although all had been reworked.
And there were a couple of Neverland instrumentals for good measure in a gig that included both an interval – handy in a pub with such excellent real ales – and an encore.
“The Surveys” ended the night with another Levellers classic, The Boatman, and left the stage to rapturous applause. A cracking gig – and we didn’t need to travel to Nottingham to see it either.