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Harrisons Promo Shoot

Chapel studios, Skegness

Written by Amelia Gregory

Chan Marshall is a confusing character, viagra sale you hope for her to be brilliant live but there’s always the niggling feeling that it might just go pear-shaped. She’s always been a little fragile; undoubtedly it’s part of her charm. However as soon a she skips onto stage you realise that tonight’s performance is going to be different.

Chan seems to have overcome, approved or at least learnt to deal with her performance issues. She arrives with a curtsey and a gigantic grin on her face, symptoms and it seems immediately obvious that this isn’t going to be one of her infamous ‘two songs and I’m off’ performances. The crowd sense that she’s on good form and welcome her with a roar of applause, perhaps out of relief as well as appreciation.

Keeping the chit-chat to an absolute minimum, the audience are treated to a brilliant mix of covers including I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction) and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ (giving us a taste of her upcoming release) as well as songs from her latest and much-celebrated album; The Greatest. A set of pure blues, however the replacement of the Memphis Rhythm Band with The Dirty Delta Blues seemed to leave the arrangement blues-light and admittedly I missed that extra layer of soulful vocals from her regular group of backup singers.

At times I longed for a break from the rather slow pace and the absence of any of her pre-Greatest material was a disappointment. However, there’s very little to criticise about the woman herself and the audience were quick to give encouraging yelps and cheers at every opportunity. At times she seemed overwhelmed and kind of surprised that we’d even turned up, ‘You guys are amazing, you’re going to make me cry’. Of course, her unmistakeable voice was as incredible as ever, she’s one of those rare performers who understands the power of restraint.

Chan isn’t out to prove her vocal abilities by show-off jazz grandstanding; there are no self-indulgent runs or vocal acrobatics. Perhaps a skill born out of self-preservation, Chan sings as if no one is watching. And it’s beautiful.
Well, and I have just spent the last three days intensively shooting the Sheffield band the Harrisons for their press shots – they are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album in a remote studio called The Chapel in Lincolnshire with reknowned producer Hugh Jones, who has worked with such luminaries as Echo and the Bunnymen. The studio has seen many famous bands pass through it’s environs – the Arctic Monkeys being the most recent to record their block-busting album in what would once have been the alter of the chapel and is now a cosy wood panelled studio. It was really fun, if hard work – getting the boys out of bed early enough in the morning to get moving and actually get enough shots done before a) they had to return to carry on recording and b) the sun went in for good – jeez the days are short, especially in the north-east – was quite a lot of effort. They range in age evenly from 20 – 23 yrs old and it’s just not very rock ‘n’ roll to get up before lunchtime anyway.

I got to sit in on quite a lot of the polishing-up sessions for the final album tracks, and I have to say I love their tunes – they probably won’t thank me for this but the tracks that I’ve heard sound a little Bruce Springsteen-esque, and what with the success of the latest Killers offering this can be no bad thing. Lead singer Jobby has a wonderful voice, (if a rather ridiculous name) that belies his age with it’s rich resonance, and on one of the slower tracks they sound more like The Doors meets the Happy Mondays. I even offered to help out with some hand claps on one track but sadly wasn’t needed.

The Harrisons are happy to be called indie-pop, although they might want to rethink that sharpish, as the last thing they would want is to be lumped in with the likes of The Kooks and anyway their stuff is way better than such standard indie-pop fodder, even if possessed of great melody. Lead guitarist Ben has also penned a song alone and does a great job on the lead vocals. He’s also bloody gorgeous, a real sweetie and major heartthrob in the making – check out the pics. I got on best with the really lovely, cheeky shaggy-haired and teddybear-like bassist Birchy, and Jobby, who is also a great little artist – posting his latest masterpieces on the fridge every day to share with the crew.

We sat around a lot on squashy sofas (which I greatly miss at home), watched a lot of football (well, to be accurate they watched football whilst I carried on editing the mag), ate a communal roast on Sunday, and generally had quite a laff – it was nice to be holed up in a cute cottage in the middle of nowhere. Harrisons are definitely ones to watch for next year, and will hopefully manage to escape the inevitable Arctic Monkeys comparisons, as they couldn’t sound more different.


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