Here there and everywhere

Played a couple of lovely shows this last week, Worcester Mars bar and The Castle in Manchester, both emotional affairs with various friends and relatives showing up out of the woodwork after such a long lay off from live music, we are so pleased to be back playing regular gigs again thanks to all who came along. Here’s a beautifully constrructed review of our Castle Hotel gig from Simon Warner, Simon runs  Rock and the Beat Generation, and has written extensively on literary-music connections. I will be speaking to him on this very subject in the near future more on this to come. Next up we play Thornton Hough Village Club, a fabulous venue in leafy Wirral on Sat 26th March, this and all the gig details are posted on the gig pages here.

Theres also a lovely podcast from Stewart Griffin worth a listen, its called LOOKING FOR Vinny Peculiar, features songs pub trivia and a little live recording from the CASTLE HOTEL gig. Stewart is joined by Graeme Blake on this most noble of quests, ha x

Vinny Peculiar
Castle Hotel, Manchester
March 18th, 2022
Vincent Peculiar, Esq. Vinny, of course, if we are not standing on ceremony. And that, to put it simply, is the performance style this keenly observant songwriter has adopted throughout a prolific if somewhat undersung career. Obviously delighted to be back on the road, on the stage, he revels in the sheer pleasure of re-connecting with a packed house in a small back room in the heart of a famous Manchester music venue, close to elated that anyone has dropped by to the Castle to witness his live return.
Peculiar is a man of paradox. He clearly feels like a semi-detached outsider yet he connects with his audience with enormous warmth. He is a melancholic, almost miserablist, lyricist, yet his manner, in between these nostalgic and autobiographical meanders through a picaresque life, is quite the reverse. He exudes empathy, simply thrilled that these small life details chime with his select and loyal followers.
His latest album Artists Only also reflects those evident contradictions. On the new record he draws on the world of modern painters to spin his anecdotal tales. Hockney is in there, so is Rothko, not to mention Pollock and Warhol and Bacon, and this body of lofty inspiration could so easily come across as clunkily pretentious. Yet the modest frontman’s delightfully self-deprecating style dissolves such thoughts almost instantly.
The show is rather low-key, quite low-fi, yet Peculiar, joined by a trio of talented sidemen, is engaging throughout, whether passionately vocalising, jangling on Rickenbacker or taking some nifty solo detours on Fender, and all of this achieved in a superb sound mix, the tiny space and balance of singer and instruments gelling wonderfully well.
While this performer has strong affiliations to the English Midlands and its dormitory towns – older songs like the classic ‘The Grove and the Ditch’ and fresher gems such as ‘Heavy Metal’ tease out those geographical memories – he has also long enjoyed friendly associations with this particular northern city. Peculiar wears a T-shirt with the simple legend ‘The North’ while his bass player sports a Salford Lads’ Club logo confirming such allegiances.
Quietly maudlin, monochrome recollections from teenhood and beyond – Noggin the Nog to the Singing, Ringing Tree, the Bay City Rollers and Tony Blackburn to Diamond Head to cite only a few – flavour the melodic sketches throughout but then Peculiar surprises us all with an encore that takes a sparky ramble through Talking Heads’ ‘Life During Wartime’, closing a set of charmingly eccentric explorations on a further quirky note.


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