On Thursday night at The Islington in North London, I was lucky enough to watch Pete Gardiner play live. Fresh back from Los Angeles, where he played a gig at the infamous Viper Room, Pete is out on the road promoting his new album ‘Ashtray Black’. The Islington was host to a number of acts but it was Pete I had come for, keen to see how the new album was doing and listen to his mesmeric lyricism once again.
The format made it a difficult venue with people wandering in an out of the performance area with scant regard for the act on stage, and this is not ideal for a singer whose songs demand an attentive ear to appreciate the nuances in the lyrics. However, Pete Gardiner has played all sorts of venues in his career and his professionalism shone through. With just a seven song set, it was suddenly the hooks in the songs that came to the fore and soon the chatting stopped and the crowd were attentive and trying to sing along. This was proof, if proof was needed, that Pete’s songs can work on several levels.
The new album lends itself very nicely to listeners of all kinds. On a first listen, it’s easy to think the story telling and heartfelt lyrics are lost in pop production but on nights like these it is the layered quality of these songs that won through. Tap your feet and clap your hands to the catchy melodies but listen hard and there is a depth in the story telling that shows Pete Gardiner at his poetic best.
Things are happening for Pete at the moment, and he is hard at work on new material which he sang alongside ’11 O’Clock’ , ‘Hotel Room’, and ‘Ashtray Black’, from his latest CD. The excellent ‘Every Brand Of Coffee’ received an airing at The Islington, as did the Americana flavoured, ‘Girl Next Door’, and new track ‘Mister’. However, the mesmerising, ‘Who Do You Belong To’ once again stole the show as Pete closed out with proof that whilst he continues to document his thoughts and dreams he will never run out of material.
Pete is looking forward to the general release of the long anticipated ‘Property Of The State’ which is garnering huge praise and for which Pete co-wrote the title track with Pol Brennan of Clannad fame. The movie was aired at the Galway Film Festival last year and featured at the Emerge Film Festival in April of this year. This is a departure for Pete but another impressive string to his bow. Also there are whispers of Pete’s songs making their way to Nashville and whilst he does not see himself as a country singer it’s undeniable that the heart rending honesty of his lyrics would suit the modern face of country music.