It's one of those nights. You start of with the simple task of doing a review in your mind and, well, things just get strange. First off, I had banged my knee against a seat. Not much to complain about really until I walked up a staircase and that very knee buckled under me. Naturally, the Free Candy Sessions are held in basement and, looking at those stairs, I wished I had brought a stunt double. Would Emma Forman, Traite Walker, Chris Rodger and Jim Dead be worth the pain?
Emma Forman was certainly soothing. She has one of those voices - somewhere between Missy Higgins and Janis Ian - that sounds delicate and innocent yet still shows grace and power. Her songs likewise show that same balance of delicacy and emotional depth. She'll have to rev her performance up a bit for bigger, and perhaps less appreciative, audiences but for an intimate venue like this, she did just fine.
Traite Walker is no stranger to these ears. He is a bit more restrained than usual tonight due to illness - he referred to himself as feeling like a "horse on ketamine" - but that trademark dexterity on the guitar is still evident and whilst hoarser than usual, his voice still exuded a worldliness that captures your attention and brought life to his words.
Chris Rodger normally fronts a band called Hercules Mandarin but tonight he is doing a solo set of new songs. I'm on record as being a fan of his musical adventures with Hercules Mandarin and nothing from his performance tonight has changed that opinion. He's a writer of mature songs that exude a feeling of quality and those new songs - especially "Climb Into My Pocket" - proved that conclusively. If there were any justice in the world of music…
Last on was Jim Dead. He is a laconic purveyor of downbeat tales of life's miseries. That's not as depressing as it sounds as he infuses those tales with a dark humour and a touch of madness (as "Before I Die" demonstrates). Shining a pound shop torch into the darkness of the soul and getting something uplifting out of it is no easy task but Jim Dead has the songs to prove that it can be done.
As is (almost) customary, a bizarre conversation ends the evening. It's about the Shatner era series of Star Trek and how women never got to carry weapons. Even in those days of free love, not even a drug addled fool would think of giving a disintegrator to a woman. Does my bum look big in this? Wrong answer. Zapped into a pile of ashes. Does my bum look big in this? Too slow. Zapped into a pile of ashes. That why God lets men rule the world - women would use a weapon of mass destruction just to ensure that they got those really nice shoes. I love sexism as there is so much writing mileage in it. Time for the painkillers. Adios!