23/11/2010 | Les Shelleys / Gregory & The Hawk – Oporto, Leeds

Sarah Tyler

The striking thing about Les Shelleys, that’s before they even entered the stage, is the set up. One very tall microphone stand, the other about a metre from the ground, having only ever seen pictures of Tom Brousseau and Angela Correa I did wander what this duos appearance may be. However, from the early onset it was clear that the microphone is for rhythmic knee slapping, an innovative substitute for subtle drumming.

One thing that is always enticing about duos, especially the male and female partnership is the musical conversation of beautiful harmony, which as an audience we almost feel as though we are eavesdropping upon. Although the partnership have other projects, it is clear through their intimate dynamic (microphone sharing and the whole works) that they had performed together many times and evidently enjoy it. There seemed to be an absorbing presence from a singular guitar and entwined vocals, a capturing of pure folk roots.

The energetic and spirited Rum and Coca-Cola gets a lot of people in a Hawaiian sway and presumably increased a few bar tabs. The duo who met in high school sharing a passion for taking songs and making them their own, slotted in recognisable tunes from Bob Dylan, Woodie Guthrie and Peter DeRose, which all appear on their recently released self titled album. They finish the set with an a cappella number after a playful disagreement about the starting note,  and receive great applause and admiration.

Meredith Godreau under the pseudonym Gregory and the Hawk (to avoid the female singer-songwriter categorising) is one of the most awe inspiring solo acts ever to perform live. She is able to bring silence to a late night music venue with a magical allure, a cross between music box beauty and shoe gazing. Even when the alcohol had risen almost to the ears of the wistful listeners the slurred shouts from the crowd are still “your amazing,” as opposed to heckles between songs.

However the humble Meredith smiles it off with a polite thank you and return of sentiment, before playing the haunting Whisper The Answer. Her vocals are soft and have a sense of innocence about them, but this multitalented instrumentalist is clearly very switched on yet still in touch with her audience. Although she embarks on a fopar whilst sitting cross-legged on the floor telling us to check out her stripy pants (which as we know across the pond means trousers) she gracefully continued to pluck her hand held harp to dreamy early release Dare and Daring. The heir of mystery surrounding this sound is on a different plane of musical beauty and is a treat to see live.

www.lesshelleys.com

www.gregoryandthehawk.com