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Josh Pyke & Passenger - October 25th 2011 @ Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
On an incredibly rainy night in Brighton, it was with quite a surprise that the queue for Josh Pyke and Passenger’s show was extending out of the venue and down the road. After the pleasure of witnessing the gig though, the loyalty and size of their fan base was not quite as surprising.
The line up had been adapted slightly, with Josh Pyke opening the night due to Passenger’s loyal home crowd coming out en masse in support of his UK tour. How sensible. Not that it made much difference, Sticky Mike’s was already completely packed out with avid fans of the singer/songwriter duo. An artists stage presence can always be gauged by the ease of which they can chat with a crowd, the humour that both acts brought to their shows went quite a way to explaining how they’d garnered quite such a dedicated following. Everything down to Josh Pyke’s comic posing for photographers (as can be seen above) so they can ‘get some of the best photos ever’. The little jokes and self deprecation scattered through the performance gave it an intimacy that artists and audience alike can cherish. Josh Pyke delivered a heart warming set of the acoustic ballads that he has built his career around, particular highlights included the jovial ‘No One Wants A Lover’. A song full of energy and fun that allowed plenty of clapping and singing along.
After a kind felt thank you and goodbye, Passenger took the stage to a roar of applause. And justifiably so. From his first track, the stories and passion Mike Rosenberg put into his performance left everyone in the venue hanging off his every word. Passenger played a host of new material that sounded as polished and accomplished as any of his honed back catalogue. With a room filled to the back completely silent, it also gave Passenger a chance to play much of his set completely acoustically, a rare sight in live performances that only added to the sense that this was a gig to remember. New tracks ‘I Hate’ and ‘Wrong Direction’ showed a new side to Passenger, one he seemed peculiarly resistant to, fearful that his tracks were sending him down a more commercial path. No such fears were necessary, however. The two tracks showed an instantly more accessible, but no less passionate or thoughtful, side to his character that was fully deserving of the attention they may well attract.
With the crowd still hanging around in anticipation, back onto the stage came both Josh Pyke and Passenger to perform the heart wrenching ‘What You’re Thinking’ from Passenger’s album Flight of the Crows. An album that was paid for entirely out of his earnings as a busker during his time in Australia. It was exactly this companionship and intimacy between that acts that had kept the crowd so enthralled through passengers set. That wasn’t to be the end though, as a thanks to his home crowd for ‘having a real love for music that gives artists like myself faith.’ He ended his astounding set with an eery version of ‘Holes’. Eery not because of any additional synth or effect, but because of the singing of a crowd so engaged in a concert they had taken it for themselves. A fitting end to a concert or experience many will probably never forget.
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2011