“In This Mean Old World, You Mean The World To Me…”The Cluny is a Tyneside institution located in the vibrant and buzzing Ouseburn on the River Tyne in Byker. Almost everyone in Newcastle has a memory of a gig at The Cluny, whether this was a local band with lots of promise, or a true musical legend. I went to see James Walsh on Friday at The Cluny with a good friend.
We booked the tickets looking for a bit of nostalgia and a few beers. We were blown away. Walsh is best known as Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter from Wigan Multi-Platinum legends Starsailor. I can’t remember a time when Starsailor didn’t feature on the soundtrack to my life, so the prospect of seeing James and his guitar in the intimate surroundings of Cluny 2 on Thursday and taking a stroll backwards through the memory bank, was pretty enticing for my mate and I!
The small but clearly committed crowd were treated to all the Starsailor classics like ‘Four to the Floor’, ‘Poor Misguided Fool’ and ‘Silence is Easy’ (the most-played song on my way to work in a morning. I often drive the long way in so I can listen twice and sing along...really badly). There is nothing like the shared experience of a crowd singing together with plastic pint glasses in hands. It felt like the fabulous old times.
What was different about this gig for me, was that I’ve only ever seen James Walsh play with the band on a big stage. His unique sound and guitar playing was just as enticing in a small venue and whilst it was great to hear the familiar Starsailor tracks, what really drew me in was Walsh’s solo material. He’s just released his fourth solo album ‘Everything Will Be OK’ and the tracks he played from this, clearly resonated with the crowd. In these tracks, he shares some of his lockdown experiences with his eloquent lyrics. I loved ‘Cherry Blossom Tree’, even though Walsh told the crowd it was “cheesy”. It’s not.
Another firm favourite of the crowd was his latest release ‘You Mean The World To Me’. ‘The Greatest Never Told’ is a beautiful tune and when I listen to this, it takes me off somewhere special – and for a few minutes in Cluny 2, I was taken there. Please have a listen if you can.
Walsh has got a busy time coming up. There are three solo gigs remaining: 9th June in Glasgow at Audio, June 10th in Leeds at Brudenell Social Club and finally Heebie Jeebies in Liverpool on the 11th.
As a band, Starsailor have a busy Summer too with some festival dates. You can catch them on Sunday 29th at the ‘Neighbourhood Weekender’ in Warrington, then they are touring Europe and the UK throughout the rest of the year. I’m looking forward to seeing them at The Riverside in Newcastle in September.
Not a scheduled gig review, but the Cluny 2 crowd were so impressed with this musicians craft, that I’m eager to tell as many people as I can about James Walsh. I keep singing one line: “In this mean old world, hanging on a thread, where the ups and downs ever infinite, you mean the world to me.”