An Evening With John Mitchell – Songs and Stories at the Camden Club in London

It’s not often artists from larger bands will strip things back and offer up an intimate, career-spanning acoustic show, but John Mitchell gave us just that at the Camden Club in London. Known for his solo work through Lonely Robot, his band work in Kino, Frost*, It Bites, and Arena, John spent the evening revisiting many fan favourites, as well as having a few covers dotted throughout too.

But first up, Storm Deva – who have been taking the grassroots of the prog scene by “storm”. (I’m sorry).

With roots in folk, splashes of Spanish guitar, and classical singing, duo Carollyn Eden and Stuart Clark got together to play stripped-back arrangements from their debut record. Produced by John Mitchell nonetheless.

With an acoustic EP on the way, and full band performances scheduled for the Summers End festival later in the year, they’ve certainly perked up my ears as a wonderfully whimsical musical experience.

And then, John Mitchell was up. Opening with some It Bites, tonight wasn’t just about the music as John liked to remind us. He let the audience know jokingly that this was more of a lecture. And this rang somewhat true as intertwined between the various songs, stories and fables of old were told. Some downright hilarious, some whimsical, and some sad.

A cover of Time after time before we had short story about where the name of the Kino project came from, and how later down the line John found out there was another far more well known band from Leningrad, Soviet Russia, with the same name.

A gorgeous rendition of Why Do We Stay followed from the Please Come Home Lonely Robot record, with John joined on stage by Ledra Chapman.Β Lonely Robot is John’s main solo project, now with more than a few albums having been released under the name. You could tell from the way John played those songs that they are close to his heart, and have a lot of personal meaning for him.

The whole affair of the evening was casual, homely, and entertaining – with John dubbing the evening a lecture, not a concert, entangled with stories of times gone by. It was a real treat to see John perform in this intimate space, and with the recent announcement that he’s heading on tour across the states as a part of Asia, (the band, not the continent!), it might be a little while before he does it once again.

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