Monday, 21 July 2014

Live in 2014: Zervas & Pepper - Level 3, St David's Hall Cardiff (as part of the Welsh Proms) - Monday 21st July 2014

On a sultry Monday evening on Level 3 of the St David's Hall in Cardiff, Paul Zervas & Kath Pepper, complete with band, played a gorgeous set as part of the Welsh Proms series of events. After flying down today from Gateshead following playing the Summertyne Americana Festival yesterday, Z&P showed no signs of travel fatigue as they produced a show of their best known songs - with some surprises thrown in for good measure.

First up though was support act Lisbee Stainton.

Lisbee played a lovely set which included songs from her 4 available albums.

She had the crowd on her side as she gave performances including Elosie, Girl In An Unmade Bed, Never Quite An Angel, Word Games & We Don't Believe In Monsters. She received a great round of applause from an appreciative Cardiff audience.

Then we came to the main event with Zervas & Pepper making their second visit to their hometown this year, following their gig at the Glee Club in February.

Playing to a packed Level 3, the band kicked off with Buffalo Crow. With EPs and two albums now under their belt, Somewhere In The City & Lifebringer, the band had plenty of material to choose from in this 1 1/2 hour show. If there was ever music to suit the weather in Cardiff tonight - this was it. The sun kissed harmonies of Paul & Kath suited the mood perfectly. If only it was outside it would have been even more magical.

Crowd favourites followed with the band playing last year's singles Jerome & Sure Fire Bet. Early song King Of The Skies get an enthusiastic cheer from those in the know.
Kath asked if there were any new fans in the audience - the answer was Yes. No doubt having heard their music on Radio 2 over the last couple of years. But the band also had a core of older fans who made themselves heard throughout the performance.

Next up were One Man Show and Living In A Small Town from Lifebringer and early favourite Starting Over - is is Rock or is it Pop asks Kath - I think its both.

The came the first surprise of the evening - the band leaves the stage and the duo are joined by Lisbee for a mesmerizing version of the Crosby Stills Nash song Helplessly Hoping. This song prompted huge applause.

The on-stage banter is again in full flow with Kath being her usual lovely self effacing self and Paul with his extremely dry wit.

Paul & Kath are used to playing shows as a duo and Lisbee left the stage to leave them to sing their very first song - You Must Be Doing Something Right.

What followed was something VERY special - a gorgeous vocal performance by Kath of the Joni Mitchell song Woman Of Heart & Mind from her 1972 album, For The Roses. Truly beautiful.

The rest of the band then came back on stage. This was the point where those who have followed Kath & Paul for a while were rewarded with two new songs.
First was the new single - These Blurred Lines. Very much a Zervas & Pepper track with gorgeous layered harmonies and sunny vibe.
This was followed by an even newer song - Tidal Wave. This track was much more rocky with Paul on good form with his electric guitar,

The band are currently recording for the third album, due next year, and the quality of the two songs they have produced so far bode well for number 3.

Following these new songs the band launch into Cigar Store Indian, probably their best known song and a real crowd pleaser at every live show.

Then came the final song, which is also the final song on the Lifebringer album, All The world Has Changed.

But the crowd wanted more and the band came back for a cover of Crosby Stills Nash - Long Time Gone.

And for those musos wondering what Paul's new guitar was - I had it from the man himself - it's a Guild X175 Manhattan (Blonde) - and mighty fine it sounds too with his Guild 12 string :)

So a triumphant home town return for Zervas & Pepper with some great new songs. What More Could You Want?

Twitter - @zervaspepper

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