Live: Andrew Davie of Cherbourg at Hoxton Bar and Grill

Let’s get one thing out in the open before you read this. I love vocal harmonies. I think 80% of music would be better with them. I also love the art of songwriting. I can’t be bothered with music that doesn’t have a proper song in its foundations. The song is the thing, after all. So I had mixed feelings about Andrew Davie’s decision to retire Cherbourg and go on to have a solo career. In an interview last week Davie told FFS he plans to concentrate on songwriting — something he’s proven himself to be fantastically good at — but it means no more harmonies.

Davie’s headline slot at Hoxton Bar and Grill on Monday was clearly a transition between Cherbourg and his new solo career. The six Cherbourg tracks he performed were in their original arrangements, which perhaps suggests that he doesn’t plan to take them any further.

And although the band’s songs stand up well to the scrutiny of being stripped back, the fact that the songs were still in their original form made the missing parts startling obvious. Cherbourg’s stand-out track ‘Never Love Again’ was the one on which the rest of the band were most sorely missed. Into The Dark track ‘Shine’ took on a new feel without the jaunty violin solo. Davie’s solo version was a more delicate and tender interpretation, better suited its bittersweet lyrics. The sound filled the room thanks to Davie’s warm and resonant voice, especially on ‘Horses’ and ‘The Mill’, the two Cherbourg tracks that worked best on the night.

Davie looked comfortable on stage alone, engaging the crowd with some good banter.  “I’ve got the scribblings of a madman for a setlist,” he said. “One of them just says ‘Life’. I don’t remember writing that one. It sounds broad.” When he did remember which song he meant a bit later, it was the strongest of his altogether very promising new material, which also included sad folky ballad ‘Mother’.

Midway through the encore ‘Let Yourself Love’ Davie faltered. “I’ve forgotten the guitar solo,” he said. And I think that settles it. The man is moving on.

Words: Lynn Roberts

Andrew Davie played:
1. Shine (Cherbourg)
2. Mother
3. Love Me If You Dare
4. Horses (Cherbourg)
5. Let You Down (Cherbourg)
6. Lost Without You
7. Life
8. The Mill (Cherbourg)
9. Never Love Again (Cherbourg)
10. Let Yourself Love (Cherbourg)

Check out Andrew Davies’ brand new myspace here.

Davie was playing as part of the Levi’s OnesToWatch 5 Night Revue