Through a mix-up between Festival programme and poster, we arrived for 7.30pm kick-off to discover an 8pm start and, greeted by performer Phil Fowler, we were invited (though declined) to share his pre-show pizza: it got even better from here on in!
With a resonating and skewed memory from our last meeting with Phil and his crew, what we did remember was the numbing reality of the lyrics, together with the gently caressing and poignant voice of Phil.
Phil arrived with a wildly changed band with a new combination of instruments, but melancholia, irony and humour remain integral ingredients.
Lyrics shocked, made you smile and took you by surprise with their absurdity, all at the same time. With an expressionless face and the apparent timidly quiet body language of a reluctant performer, Phil succeeded in stroking our most soulful imaginings as we peered into profoundly ordinary lives of cheesiness and regret, laced with his laconically affecting musical dry wit.
“Why oh why? – whatever next?”, he sang, a recurring theme of unexpectedly deep sadness, charm and surprise tugged at our subconscious throughout.
Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht would have thoroughly approved: discordant tones from cello, cornet, clarinet, piano and guitar, from the soil and beneath.
Perfect venue at The Workshop, with its cabaret setting although a largely absent audience must have saddened Phil and his exceptionally talented crew.
Keep doing it guys, we ‘in the know’ recognise and appreciate your enormous talents – brilliant!