Review of ‘Show of Hands’ in Ely Cathedral on Wednesday 8th November 2017
By Rosemary Westwell
Ely Cathedral was the right place for Kirsty Merryn, Steve Knightley, Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes to enthral the packed cathedral with their strong emotive sounds catching that intangible emotional pull of folk-like songs that tell tales of the human condition from time immemorial.
With very effective lighting that changed as the mood or message of the songs altered, these performers showed tremendous skill with their voices and with their instruments ranging from keyboard, violin, accordion or guitar to double bass.
Steve Knightley, on guitar, demonstrated his emotive strengths when he first sang with Kirsty in a duet during her opening songs. Kirsty’s original songs were youthfully spirited and charming and her keyboard accompaniments tasteful and tuneful. Many of her songs are featured in her new album ‘She and I’ about women of history.
The members of this excellent acoustic band, ‘Show of Hands’, Steve Knightley, Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes were well attuned to each other and created many moving moments of beautifully blended harmony. One of the most effective instants was when they moved down the aisle in the cathedral their voices echoing atmospherically into the vaults of this superb building. Their stage performances evoked many a melancholic story of folk from different parts of England and from different times. More often than not, they accompanied themselves with toe-tapping rhythms reminiscent of Irish exuberance and it was very hard not to tap one’s feet as their music seemingly got carried away. It was easy to see why they are so popular. There must be very few people who do not relate to the messages of their songs.
This was indeed a wonderful evening.