:: Anna Kashfi
:: The Beauty Shop
:: Jessie Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter
16 January 2003 / Tmesis / Manchester
By Jonathan Roby
In a small, dark Manchester cellar some of America’s (and the UK’s) finest purveyors of melancholic ‘alt-country’ played to an appreciative crowd.
Opening act local band Anna Kashfi set the tone for the evening with their warm and hazy sounds. Playing a handful of new and old songs with their sound a hybrid of English folk crossed with a countrified ‘Mazzy Star’ will go some way to describe their music. One of the highlights ‘About a Boy’ perfectly suited the fine guitar picking of Jessie Youngjohns and ethereal vocals of Sian Webley.
One of last years hidden gems was The Beauty Shops ‘Yr Money of Yr Life’ which featured John Hoeffleur’s astute and often comical observations of American suburbia. Tonight John Hoeffleur with a new album pending and the help of an old battered acoustic gave the crowd a wonderful insight into the mind of a gifted if slightly eccentric troubadour in the making. Songs such as ‘I got issues’, which describes perfectly the American fixation with their modern psychosis woes.
Headlining act Jessie Sykes tonight featuring just one Sweet Hereafter in the form of ex-Whiskeytown’s guitarist Phil Wandscher give the crowd a beautiful rendition of their superb debut album ‘Reckless Burning’ coupled with some ‘newies’ which developed further on the interplay of Phil Wandscher’s emotive guitar playing and with Jessie Sykes a Sioux-country Sandy Denny for a new generation the future only looks bright. Album tracks such as ‘Doralee’ and ‘Drinking with strangers’ hung in the air wonderfully as dark tales of love lost, alcohol and the journey through life’s highways and bars was played before us. Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter left us with a night to remember and a new hero for the Americana kids.