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Costa Coffee Acoustic Night @ Costa Coffee, Andover

Rating: /5 ( Votes)

The Costa Coffee Acoustic Night is a night of music and entertainment, designed to give every – and I mean every – performer a chance. As well as being a place for well-established bands and musicians a stage to play on, it openly invites young, new, or inexperienced bands/musicians to play.

The Revenant

Having seen theses guys recently play at the Respect-Fest, it was interesting to watch them now going acoustic. It is frequently the way with acoustic versions of bands that the drummer is simply erased. But not these guys. Oh no, he was armed ... with a cajon (which, if you don't know, is like a wooden box that the player sits on and hits to make a beat). It's a relatively simple principle, and one that doesn't offer as much as variety as a full drum kit. Or so I thought, but the drummer did a brilliant job in bringing all the elements I thought he wouldn't be able to achieve. The guitarists played really well, bringing varying inversions and not playing the same thing (a personal bugbear of mine). The bass was really raw, booming and contrasted well with the others. There were nice melodies and harmonies, and the music was good.

In Darklight

Ben has already played as an acoustic solo act, as, you might say, a splinter cell of the group, but the idea of being an acoustic band is a relatively new venture for them. And after hearing them play, one that I suggest they continue to do! They have a great togetherness about them, and again, the drums are not left behind, instead brought in a new way by the use of shakers. In contrast to their electric version, Ross took on more the roll of the bassist, but also added beautiful extra chords, highlighting 9ths and 11ths, while Ben became the rhythm guitarist. The songs were great and the musicianship was equally as good. Louis and Ben harmonised well together. They are releasing their new EP, Lock It Out, today (Monday 31st March 2014). You can follow them on Facebook or at

Max Gifford

Max was a little nervous before he came on stage. It probably didn't help that I was his guitar teacher for some years, and I can understand that – even now, I would still get nervous if my guitar teacher turned up to watch me play! However, he admitted that he changed the songs only a week before, which I wouldn't recommend doing, as it contributed to his nerves and allowed for little mistakes to come through, but despite this, he had a good attack on the guitar and played the chords well, his voice was powerful and true. He just needed to relax a little bit, take a breath, and play through. He got the audience clapping and everyone was more than happy to join in. Max, if you want help preparing for your gigs, get in touch and we can go over it! But stay keen and stay interested.

Declan Carrier

Declan Carrier came down from London to perform at this event (and before that he came from Australia), so you could argue he couldn't have traveled farther to be there last night! It was great. He started with Black and Gold, changing the rhythm to a slow and easy beginning. I've already said before that I'm not such a fan of changing covers too much, but there are always exceptions. It was also good, because after this slow intro, when he was ready and the audience were with him, he raised the volume and speed and performed a very accurate version of the song. He used the vibrato in a voice well and used interesting chord inversions, rather than belting just the basics. He performed his own music, which was simple and honest, and then finished on a Michael Jackson number: good ol' Billy Jean. Great set!

Emma Lawrence

Emma Lawrence was invited down from Newbury. She played a variety of covers and originals. Her guitar playing was simple and effective, with good strumming techniques and confidence, and was a good base for her powerful, warm and folky voice to sit on. Her vibrato was quick and easily punctured the audience ambiance. An exciting performer, she has been recording with Louis Sellers at Anton Road Studios.

One Last Thrill

Oscar Rees, one of the guitarists, started the set with an open D chord in drop D tuning. Just in changing that one string to a lower note has a profoundly silencing effect and it got everyone's attention. He then played a great opening riff that really utilised the drop D tuning. It's difficult to categorise the music into a style, firstly because I don't really do that sort of thing, but I would have said, deep, bluesy, bold – if that's really a style! The vocals were great, Steph's voice powerful and very audible above both guitarists thrashing it out. With excellent motifs and a couple of cheeky solos it was a great end to the night!