Archive for June, 2018

Retune #3 Sunday 10th June 2018: Vertaal + Charlie Turner + Fionnuala Shakespeare

Posted on: June 26th, 2018 by Retune No Comments

For the June Retune, our audience was treated to an eclectic mix of live music: Jazz-funk outfit Vertaal, emotive singer/songwriter Charlie Turner and musical theatre-trained Fionnuala Shakespeare. It was another tremendous evening.

Fionnuala was the first to take the stage following an introduction from Retune founder Tom Ryder. Tom accompanied Fionnuala on guitar as she performed Defying Gravity from Wicked, Make You Feel My Love by Adele and a rousing rendition of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman. Her voice is as clear as bell, she has great range, and really grew in confidence as her set went on.

Vertaal are outstanding musicians who demonstrated complete command of their instruments.

Charlie’s songs are full of emotion and are very relatable.

Fionnuala Shakespeare has a crystal clear vocal and she performed with a great deal of conviction.

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Charlie Turner has been a stalwart on the Bishop’s Stortford music scene for many years, both as a performer and writer. Nowadays she writes solely for other artists and has enjoyed some fantastic collaborations over the past few years. Accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she demonstrated what a prolific and insightful songwriter she is. Particularly powerful were her songs about a character being the man of the house and one track called ‘Medication’ that rang chillingly true. She also treated us to versions of Jolene by Dolly Parton and Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, which had the crowd singing along. A bit of crowd participation is always encouraged at Retune!

Vertaal, performing as a five-piece, comprises stunning musicians. Founding members Theo Howarth (keys) and Ajit Gill (drums) are very fine players indeed, and they were enhanced further by Warren Woodcraft (bass), Si Todd (percussion) and Loren Hignall (saxophone). What followed was a lesson in virtuosic and complex playing. Vertaal communicate with each other musically and indicate changes in the sections of their music merely by gestures and eye contact. They have a great understanding, and their effect on both the ears and eyes was mesmeric. It was very interesting to see how each player has a licence to really express themselves as an individual musician, yet as a collective they are super tight. Sound engineer Tom Rountree was putting the smoke machine and lighting rig to good use during the Vertaal set, which added to the drama.

We saw a lot of new faces at the June event, which was indicative of the diverse range of music on display. We hope that they will be back, and if you’d like to attend a future Retune, check out our upcoming shows here.

Retune #2 – Sunday 13th May 2018: Bella Chipperfield + Tom Braggins + Jay Williams

Posted on: June 21st, 2018 by Retune No Comments

Retune got off to a flying start in April 2018 with LOZT, Van Susans and Jess Folley. The follow-up in May was equally spectacular, showcasing the skills of Bella Chipperfield and her band, one-man wall of sound Tom Braggins and rising talent Jay Williams.

Retune founder Tom Ryder kicked off the night in the usual way, highlighting the mission of the project and letting the audience know that it was their job to tune in to the performances and tune out from their every day troubles. He finished off the introduction by playing his original song Good Run, written about his school band The Kazans.

Bella Chipperfield’s music is both haunting and spellbinding.

Tom Braggins wowed the crowd with his innovative looping and incessant energy

Youngster Jay Williams is already crafting some great songs

Tom then introduced Jay Williams to the stage. Jay is only 15 but already possesses commanding stage presence. He is also very skilled when it comes to looping; the influence of acoustic pioneer Ed Sheeran is clear to see, however Jay also brings his unique style to the loop pedal. As well as layering up guitar parts he also looped his vocals, displaying a strong chest voice and falsetto. Jay has been a loyal supporter of Retune from the beginning and it is pleasing to see how well he is progressing.

Next up was Tom Braggins, who simply blew the audience away. Also a very accomplished looper, Braggins combines his acoustic guitar playing with a fuzzy electric overdriven sound, and even finds time to swap instruments mid song and add a bass line using a bass ukulele. Among his feel good tunes he played a song called Sam, a stirring and emotional instrumental piece about a family friend. He admitted that he doesn’t usually play the song live and has only played it on four occasions, all of which have been in the intimate setting of the Half Moon in Bishop’s Stortford, now The Horn at The Half Moon. Stevie Wonder is a clear influence, and Braggins certainly brought bundles of funky soul to proceedings.

And so to Bella. She has a distinctive and haunting vocal, and her sound is boosted further by having her brother Joe on guitar and Jon on drums. All of the instruments played by the band, including Jon’s maple drum sticks, are hand made by Bella’s father ‘Chip’ Chipperfield, and the three-piece sounded absolutely lush. Bella played songs from her recently-released EP Leave My Mind, which was thematically perfect for Retune! Her song Worn Down was a particular highlight; a beautiful track that showcased Bella’s vocal. Her music sits somewhere between blues, folk and soul and is a delight to behold.

Another tremendous evening. Would you like to attend a Retune show or play? Contact us here if so…

Retune #1: LOZT + Van Susans + Jess Folley

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Retune No Comments

Retune got underway in style at The Horn at The Half Moon in Bishop’s Stortford on Sunday 8th April 2018. The line-up was transatlantic duo LOZT, feel-good quintet Van Susans and The Voice UK Kids winner Jess Folley. What a night it was.

Retune founder Tom Ryder kicked things off by introducing the project. He explained how and why the initiative was set up and shared some personal stories about music and why it has been such a powerful force in his life. At these events, it is the audience’s job to tune in to the performances on stage and tune out from the world outside. Retune is more than a gig.

Jess Folley has an extremely bright future ahead of her.

Tom Ryder and Lauren Scudder (LOZT) closed the first Retune gig brilliantly.

Even if you are hearing the music of Van Susans for the first time, it already feels familiar.

Jess Folley then joined Tom on stage and he accompanied her on guitar for her first two songs, which were Too Good At Goodbyes by Sam Smith and a beautiful original titled All I Need. Aged only 14, she is a truly phenomenal performer who has a commanding stage presence and a spectacular vocal. Her songwriting is also progressing very well. For her final two numbers Tom departed and Jess accompanied herself on piano. Several audience members left the venue room open-mouthed once they had witnessed her performance.

After a short interlude, Van Susans were the next act. Due to a car breakdown, they were missing violinist Holly, but nonetheless treated the crowd to a fine set of originals on acoustic guitar, bass, piano and drums. The band had recently returned from supporting Imagine Dragons, so it was a treat to see them in this intimate setting. Hooky songs abound from Van Susans, and by the second chorus you feel like you’ve known the tunes for a long time.

Headliner LOZT comprises Tom Ryder and American artist Lauren Scudder. This was the first time they had played with a full band: Max Lauder on drums, John Parker on double bass and Azzedine Loukil on keys and backing vocals. The band produced an enchanting and soothing sound, led by Tom and Lauren’s very well-matched vocal harmonies. LOZT played a selection of recently-penned original tracks as well as Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Complicated by Avril Lavigne, both intelligently arranged with their own unique stamp. A fitting end to an inspiring evening of music and community vibes.

You can read a full review of the show by Bishop’s Stortford Independent reporter Cat Barkley here:

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