GRASSCUT – Live at Diagonal Loft Club, Forlì, Italy 11th November 2015

In Grasscut’s short nine-song set, the Brighton-based duo play the whole of one of the year’s best releases : Everyone Was A Bird. The odd one out is – Reservoir – from 2012’s Unearth.

In my review of this album for Whisperin’ & Hollerin’, I highlighted the subtlety and intimacy of this record. Perhaps inevitably, these qualities are hard to replicate in a live setting, particularly one where many punters are out for a drink and a chat rather than to listen to music.

Nevertheless, it is great to put a face to the songs and to personally thank Andrew Phillips and Marcus O’Dair for the music after the show. This studious looking pair are joined on stage by drummer Aram Zarikian.

The black and white homemade movies playing on a screen behind them is a nice touch in that it emphasizes how Phillips’ primary subject is the British countryside near his current home or from his childhood. Both in words and images, these are no dewy-eyed odes to nature. We see bleak yet beautiful Autumnal or Wintry landscapes peppered with electrical pylons and the ominous presence of a nuclear power station.

The absence of string instruments is quite a loss and the sampled voices, including the voice of poet Siegfried Sassoon, cannot be heard clearly but they still manage to convey the rugged charm of the melodies and richness of the language.