Cam Penner & Jon Wood: Otley Courthouse

Friday afternoon I rushed home from university in anticipation of the night I’ve been waiting for for months.

Cam Penner and Jon Wood, at Otley Courthouse, playing to an audience of around 60.

I bought tickets in early October as a surprise present for my family, after my mum introduced me to the country-folk duo as his song ‘House of Liars’ appeared on the BBC drama series, Stonemouth.

Doors opened at 19:15 for a 20:00 start. And after a traffic-filled journey during a Cool Cool Night (pun for the die-hard-fans), we arrived and ventured to the bar for a beer, to warm us up. We were the first ones in and were sat around four feet away from the stage.

Beer in hand, we asked if we can go in, the steward replied, ‘we need the band to be here first’. I am always horribly early for anything.

As gigs go, it was the most intimate and most passionate; and as far as musicians go, both Penner and Wood, are most talented. In fact, the most talented duo I have ever seen.

At one stage, Cam Penner was playing guitar, harmonica, bass drum and symbol all at the same time.

The music was incredible – after a near two hour set each song was as good as the previous. Each was sang with passion and skill, I and most of the room sat in awe.

The tour, called ‘Sex and Politics’, after his new album, which was released on Spotify on January 1st of this year, has a great backstory.

The album was recorded with no-one around, no family members or ramblers just Cam and Jon: who filled a car with recording equipment, drums, numerous guitars, ukuleles and amps and speakers and ‘sacks of ideas’. They then drove and did this, repetitively, for a lengthy period of time before the album was complete and finalised.

His eight sacks of ideas (legitimate terminology from the man himself) obviously came in very useful for the creation of the best album I have heard in a long, long time.

The anecdotes in-between songs were almost as good as the music itself. I would happily pay £13, even £130, to hear him talk to me.

He documented his own radio show, his years working in a homeless shelter and that it is his and Jon Wood’s 10 year anniversary on Sunday 24th January 2016 – have a good one.

During Hey You! (Lovers of Music) one thing that took my ear was Jon Wood’s guitar. That balanced with Cam Penner’s ukulele and powerful voice made for a perfect mid point for the first half of the gig.

Come Back to Me, off the latest album, was performed with warmth before they went off for a 15 minute break.

After the second half of the gig my mum wanted to shoot off straight away, as she had an early start for some theatre comedy play the following day. I objected, there was no chance I wasn’t going to meet them.

My dad initiated conversation with Wood and we chatted about how amazing he was, his thoughts on the gig, Jimmy Hendrix and then we posed for a picture together.

It was safe to say he was very happy with the night.

I asked if there was any chance if I could meet Cam and we walked together to the merchandise stall where he was stood selling his CD’s.

‘This is James, Cam, take a picture with him – he looks good.’

LIKE WHAT?!

I spoke with Cam and obviously posed for a picture – the three of us all in hats. I felt that I fitted in well.

People were queuing waiting to see the duo but I didn’t really care that they were waiting- and not caring is something I rarely do – shaking hands and exchanging email addresses we went and I was buzzing and very hungry. I had a chicken and stuffing bun – I was just buzzing, a hell of a lot.

If you ever read this – thank you.

 

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