Last night I found myself at the Jericho Tavern. When I say 'I found myself' I mean, I had purposely gone there to take in the evening's entertainment, but while there I also had a bit of an existential moment that's been a long time coming.
First off, I haven't been to a gig at the Jericho Tavern for years. Secondly, I haven't been to a gig at the Jericho Tavern alone. And finally I was shattered both emotionally and physically by the time I got home from work, so all odds were against me tackling the ten miles of roadworks between home and Jericho.
So what dragged me out on that warm May evening? The promise of uplifting indie/electro/pop tunes from Alphabet Backwards to try and pluck me out of my self-made misery? Well, yes, basically. I checked out the support acts online and found myself listening to everything Lewis and Leigh have on Spotify so by the time I had pep-talked myself out of the door, it was too late to catch Cosmosis, unfortunately.
As if by magic I parked really close to the venue (if you read any of my other reviews, I'm quite obsessed about being able to park in Oxford), so I was already feeling pretty darn pleased with myself as I smiled winningly at the doorman and pushed my way through the busy bar to the upstairs venue.
I arrived just in time to see Lewis and Leigh setting up. This duo bring together Americana, Indie, Country and Roots telling us sad tales with jaunty tunes (it's the Country way, after all!). Al Lewis grew up in Wales and had been performing as a solo artist when he met Alva Leigh, another solo artist all the way from Mississippi. They began writing together, and lucky for us, starting performing together. I can't recommend them highly enough, their voices complement each other perfectly and everything I've listened to both online and live last night is toe-tapping, sometimes thought-provoking, goodness. I loved it.
An interesting combination, you might think: Country supporting Electro Pop? But it worked. Lewis and Leigh warmed up the crowd beautifully to welcome the exuberant Alphabet Backwards onto the stage. The energy turned up a notch or three and I spent the entire set beaming around like and idiot and trying to contain my dancing to a sedate 'bopping'. With tunes that seem instantly recognisable and an obvious love for what they do, I challenge anyone to go and see this band live and not leave with a skip in their step. I wasn't the only one bopping along and by the end of the set there were calls for an encore. Sadly, by this point I was dead on my feet and not looking forward to the trek home, so quickly went and purchased an Alphabet Backwards tote bag (by the time you've done 60 grocery shops, it pays for itself at the bargain price of £3!) and skipped back out into the warm night feeling a whole lot happier with life.