Rosalind Knight reports on Phil Beer & Miranda Sykes – CB2, Cambridge, 14 April 2007

Artist Visiting Cambridgeshire
Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes played a sell-out gig at CB2 café on Saturday evening. The talented Phil Beer pleased his audience with a mixture of folk, blues and country and western. Both his voice and his playing adapted beautifully to every style, as he swung from West Country folk songs to American blues, playing numerous guitars and a fiddle.

Phil Beer was a great performer, and it was equally pleasing to hear him talk as it was to hear him play. One of the loudest laughs came when he played a folk song that he learnt as a teenager, giving us a current rendition before reverting to an impression of his fourteen-year-old self playing the same song. There was even the chance for audience participation, as we were encouraged to join in with the odd chorus or two.

Phil sang and played several solo numbers, before being joined on stage by Miranda Sykes on the double bass and vocals. It was a real treat to hear the double bass in this environment; whilst the deep sounds tend to get a bit lost in larger ensemble pieces, the instrument came into its own in this gig. Accompanying just the acoustic guitar, it demanded special attention with its fruity sound that got many feet tapping. (Note: foot tapping at a folk concert seems jolly and appropriate, but why do people hum along when they know neither the tune nor the words? The professionals are here for a reason folks - leave the music to them).

Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes played well together, with a nice balance of musical harmony and friendly banter. The pair will continue to tour in the Cambridgeshire area during April.
A small aside to all Cambridge gig-goers: CB2 had a very friendly atmosphere, and it was a real treat to hear live music in such an exclusive (never say small) venue. However, seating tickets are better value for money than standing room, which offers a very limited view.

Writer: Rosalind Knight