We haven’t been to Girls & Guitars for ages so, when we saw it was on this week, we leapt in and bought a couple of tickets. And talk about value; rather than the usual one girl, there were two.
We had decided to go early and have a pizza each. This is a (relatively) new thing. You have to get there early to order them. We also wanted to sit at a better table than usual.
This plan was somewhat scuppered when Mirinda announced that she had to have a phone conference at 6:30. Still, she reckoned it would only take an hour. An hour and a half later, we set off.
The cafe was already pretty full when we arrived and took a table close to the performance area. Everyone was enjoying pizza as I headed for the bar. I was just in time to hear the announcement that there were only two left. I ordered them quickly, bought some drinks and rejoined my wife.
The pizza, as they called it, wasn’t particularly high on the gourmet ladder but it hit the spot. The beer, of course, was very nice.
It wasn’t long before Emma Harrop started her set.
Mirinda’s guitar teacher is always telling her to play louder, to thrash the strings. Tonight, Emma gave us a lesson in getting as much noise out of an acoustic guitar as possible. Her energy was infectious, her fingers a blur, as she strummed out her own songs and a couple of covers. One cover was an amazing version of an Iron Maiden song: the other was Blondie’s Maria, belted out with gusto.
Actually, Maria proved a bit expensive for one chap in the audience. The woman he was with bet him it was Blondie while he was sure it was Cher who’d originally recorded it. It cost him £50 though he did try and get out of it by saying he’s sure Cher recorded a cover version.
During the break we had a bit of a chat with Emma. She used to be in an all girl band but there was a bit of friction so she left. The experience gave her some good lyrics for a song.
She was also very complimentary about the Farnham audience, saying how attentive we were. She’s used to playing venues in London where they don’t know she’s there most of the time. I reckon that must be quite disheartening.
Mind you, while most of us were happy to sit back and submerge ourselves in the music, there was a rather odd chap sitting at the very front table doing a crossword. Weird.
Anyway, the break was soon over and Zoe Hazel started playing.
The photo above is a bit deceptive. I never use a flash, so colours tend to differ somewhat to what they actually are. For instance, Zoe’s guitar was bright red and not bubblegum pink. In fact, we were both quite taken with her guitar.
In terms of performance and style (and guitar), the two girls were very different. Zoe was a lot more thoughtful and immersed. As she told us, while Emma had announced that only one of her songs was dark and depressing, her’s started dark and continued getting darker.
That’s not a criticism. I really enjoyed her voice and intricate plucking.
Just before her final song, Zoe asked when the last train left for London as they both had to travel back after the gig. Someone said midnight, then corrected himself after the song, having checked his phone. The last train actually leaves at 11:27.
All in all, it was a very entertaining night courtesy of two very talented girls. Zoe has a website here, if of interest.
I’m sure the Maltings will be pleased with the numbers – it was standing room only, which never happens at Girls & Guitars.
And they managed to get rid of all their pizzas.