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Review: Thea Gilmore at Hall 2, The Sage Gateshead

Thea Gilmore packed the Sage's Hall 2 for a memorable gig with support slot from Nigel Stonier

*****
Singer songwriter Thea Gilmore
Singer songwriter Thea Gilmore

The evening opened with a 40-minute support slot from Nigel Stonier, a critically-acclaimed producer, songwriter, musician and Thea Gilmore’s partner.

Over his set he played acoustic guitar and grand piano while entertaining the audience with relaxed banter. But it was his skills as a songwriter that made the biggest impression.

It was a few years since I’d seen Thea Gilmore live, in fact not since she regularly played the Jumpin’ Hot Club at The Cluny.

When I last saw her, I would have described her stage persona as folk-rock chic but earthy folk mother would perhaps better describe her current persona.

She was accompanied not just by Stonier on acoustic guitar and piano but a string section of violin and cello which had the power of a small orchestra, it was difficult to believe it was only a couple of instruments played delicately and with care.

Over a long set Gilmore played songs from her back catalogue and new material. On occasion she put her guitar to one side and sang with the backing of her fellow musicians.

Her eldest son, seven-year-old Egan, made a couple of special guest appearances, playing second violin while sheltering behind his mum.

His arrival on stage provided a light interlude and a contrast to his mum’s serious, deep songs and disciplined performance.

Over the years Thea Gilmore has been a hard-working musician, progressing from pub venues to concert halls.

She filled Sage 2 so some audience members had to stand at the back.

A polished performance from Thea Gilmore and her band made this an outstanding concert.

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