Entering the venue, I already had a feeling that this concert would be special. The location itself already gives off a magical vibe – The Caves is a small venue inside the 18th century Edinburgh Vaults under South Bridge. It’s an impressive and atmospheric venue that hosts a variety of events from weddings to club nights.
The show was opened by a very charming Canadian duo, Dennis Ellsworth and Kinley Dowling. Together they just released their album ‘Everyone Needs to Chill Out’, while both of them also pursue solo projects, with Ellsworth already having released several records. They played a half hour set of folky country songs with Ellsworth on the guitar and Kinley accompanying him on either violin or guitar. They set the mood just right for John Smith’s performance.
John Smith is currently on tour promoting his fifth album ‘Headlong’, which was released earlier this year. He is looking back to over 10 years in the music business, his first album was released in 2006. Smith took the stage with only his guitar for the first song and was then joined by another guitarist and a bass player. The rest of the set was a mixture of Smith alone on stage and him being accompanied by the two musicians.
With only about 80 people there it was a very intimate show that provided to be perfect for the heartfelt and enticing music John Smith produces. The gig was a mixture of old and new songs, or as he jokingly stated “to anyone who just viagra pas cher came here and didn’t know him before: just songs”- featuring several of the current record, like title song ‘Headlong’, ‘Living in Disgrace’ and ‘Undone’, and also older songs, such as ‘Alone Again’ and ‘Salty and Sweet’. His skills on the guitar were awe-inspiring, his fingerstyle technique contrasted wonderfully with his voice – he is one of those raw talents who is massively underrated, which makes small shows like these an even more special occasion.
On this dark and windy Monday night, John Smith engulfed the audience in a warm blanket of smooth guitar tunes and his powerful raspy voice that oftentimes surprised with soft notes and a vulnerability that struck me and gave me goosebumps. Rarely I felt so captured by a performance – it made me forget anything and left me hanging to every sound that left Smith’s lips and guitar. One of the highlights of the evening took place during one of the last songs of the set when Smith got the audience to sing along and made us a part of his music. For the very last song he, once again, displayed his phenomenal skills on the guitar and played sitting down on his lap. With this soulful gig, John Smith gained a few more fans, myself definitely.
Guest Reviewer: Leonie Verstegge