The ‘Colour of Change’ EP by Fate the Juggler is a great five track snapshot of the band and made me inquisitive to know whether their diverse sound and broad song range transferred to live performance; it was with some relief and great pleasure to find out that it does – and some.
It is not often in this homogenised, TV driven, screamingly hyped music world in which we live that it can be said that a band is better live than recorded but with Fate the Juggler this is truly the case. This is a band at one with itself, full of expert musicians enjoying themselves, all given their expressive head but all remaining tight as a unit.
A Pizza Express in Maidstone may not resonate as one of those iconic venues but venture upstairs and you enter a concert room as good as any with top quality sound and light and a generous stage to let this multi instrumental band stretch out.
This was a show with a twist; band driving force Rob Spiers opened with a solo eco-friendly song ‘What You Say’ delivered with aplomb and a nod to further solo work planned for next year. Rob was then joined on stage by the effervescent Linze Maesterosa to road test a new song ‘Pure Gold’ – no hitches here and you sense a band that will not let anything out of the bag until it is good and polished.
On we went building nicely into an acoustic section when the bands fine backline of Nick Cursley on double bass and Kirsteen Bristow on gently brushed drums quietly joined the stage for some stripped back songs. The subtle key changes of ‘Chances’ and the title track from the latest EP ‘Colour of Change’ being mid-set highlights.
It was announced that a new song had been finished and that the band would ‘give it a go’ and ‘Your So, So, So’ was let loose on the world. It was great but ‘Will it make the next album cut?’ asked Spiers – high standards indeed.
It was then guest time and the bands producer Nick Sheridan joined the stage juggling acoustic guitar with iPad controlled sound at the same time – seamless. There was a good crowd in and they were treated to a stripped back version of fan favourites ‘Set In Stone’ and ‘Her Auburn Hair’.
Another guest finished his Pizza and joined the ensemble with Don Judges expertly deputising for Dan Masters on electric guitar; a different style to Masters but in this gig with a twist it worked a treat. Judges introduction to ‘The Time, The Place’ was a memorable moment with Nick Cursley driving the song along with one of those catchy bass riffs that wake you up at 4 in the morning.
We were in full swing now and with everyone in the groove the band headed into the full throttle finishing straight with classics ‘Give Up The Ghost’ and ‘Shadows Falling’. Watching the multi-talented Maesterosa in this section was a treat as she switched smoothly from clarinet to flute to saxophone to keys to tambourine and back again not once missing an oooh or an aaah or a well placed harmony.
A brief pause and call for refreshments before a great version of the blues tinged ‘My Broken Heart’. Then bang – a big finish with ‘Blasphemy’ and ‘The Crown’, the band was unleashed and it became clear why they paced themselves!
It was late so no time for an encore but this set had been expertly crafted and built to a crescendo that it didn’t seem to matter.
When you get the chance go and see Fate the Juggler and then spread the word and foist this hidden gem of Kent upon the world.
By SIMON GOODALE
Artist Web link – http://www.fatethejuggler.com/
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