The Barrels Ale House Review

Following my gig at the Barrels Ale House last weekend, I have came across a wonderful review from Janet Datchens who was at the gig.  Thank you so much, Janet, for your kind words!

Time to reawaken this topic with a review of Andrew’s gig at The Barrels Ale House in Berwick-on-Tweed last Sunday evening.

As some of you may know, we spent a week in Northumberland recently (arrived home Tuesday night) “Teenager sitting” for Fiona Elcoat (aka ‘The Flying Pixie’) while she was away in Scotland. When we arrived she told us she’d booked Andrew for St Patrick’s night at The Barrels and we would be going along with her. Well, we didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out that Andrew was the only act booked for the evening and so he did a full set, with a break half-way through, starting just after 6:30 pm.

The pub was busy with a lot of coming and going and the inevitable noisy chatter but Andrew did really well and was applauded at the end of every song (applause encouraged by the enthusiastic clapping of the trio of Fiona, John and me) and some joined in with the songs they knew. Part-way through the first half, when I was returning to our table after taking some photos, a chap sitting in an old dentist’s chair at the bar (don’t ask!) called me over to ask if we were related and when I said no, we were just friends, he went on to ask me to be sure and tell Andrew how much his singing was appreciated by those in the bar – this he repeated to Andrew himself at half-time when he joined us for a drink!

There was a great mix of songs, from Andrew’s own compositions through some well-known Scottish and Irish songs (well, it was St Patrick’s day!) to Runrig (two songs) and two Stan Rogers songs sung with no guitar accompaniment whatsoever. Apparently it happens all the time when a singer performs like this, but I was completely amazed and surprised by how, in both songs, the chatter faded to a mere background hum. With one such song in each half the audience was, in part at least, different, so it was quite a spontaneous reaction.

The whole set was acoustic with just Andrew and his guitar… apart from some possibly over-enthusiastic “table-drumming” input from us three during the more up-beat songs in the second part! I suspect Andrew will be invited back to play The Barrels again but without the percussion section!

We all really enjoyed the evening and I was very impressed with Andrew’s professionalism and the sheer courage it must take to sit down in a corner of a crowded pub and start to play and sing, to make people listen.

We were very fortunate to be (for a change!) in the right place at the right time and so get to hear Andrew perform properly and he’s bloomin’ good!!