December 23, 2013
Beautiful, lyrical and musically talented. That is the way to describe all the performers at this little but lovely gig at the Port Mahon.
Home Third Light was originally formed back in ’93, but they don’t perform all that often anymore. In fact, this was their only gig this year. Ian Wilde (also a member of the Brickwork Lizards, Oxford’s purveyors of Turkabilly hip-hop) fronts the band on guitar and vocals and is the primary songwriter as well.
The songs are stunning. Warm with an acoustic vibe, but tinged with a slight sadness, the music seems to encompass you as you listen. The set-up included long-time Home Third Light drummer Chris and two more Brickwork Lizards, Spencer and Steve, on bass, and keyboard and trumpet. The trumpet was a particularly effective addition for a Spanish-themed number that felt very much like listening to memories.
The crowd were obviously all enjoying the rare privilege of this Home Third Light outing as they insisted on an additional number. And while the band hadn’t rehearsed any more songs, they acquiesced and played one from memory, just demonstrating how much they must love what they play.
Desmond Chancer was up next, with his Long Memories (also known as Oliver and Anna). A very different sound, but equally suited to the intimate surroundings of the Port Mahon, and given their propensity for exceedingly depressing songs, the black walls were particularly apt.
Consisting of just three members, the Long Memories include keyboard, violin and vocals, and are at their best when Desmond and Anna are duetting. Their songs centre around broken hearts, lost loves, drinking and smoky back rooms and Desmond’s impassioned and deep-throated notes place you right in the centre of those dives.
The sound was perhaps a little thin at times and as I understand it they have performed with backing drums and saxophone in the past, which I can imagine lend a supportive boost. But that didn’t detract from the smooth, swinging melodies and aching harmonies.
Overall it was a wonderful night of indulgence for any fan of the Oxford music scene, and it’s worth keeping your ears open as the rumour is Home Third Light just might up it two gigs next year!