I make no apologies for another review that is at the Winchester Gate in Salisbury. It is my local music venue and I go there when I can. Get over it!
First up on the evening was Calÿpso, a 22 year old multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter from Salisbury based in Oxford.
Calÿpso’s audience interaction was perfectly judged - edgy, witty and funny, involving the packed crowd in her stories of the songs - all of which were her own. Very good they were too.
Calÿpso has a perfectly controlled, melodic voice and when the track demands it, it can be a quite hauntingly beautiful.
Particular highlights were Tinder Girl (introduced with “I’ve tried every sort, man, woman, woodland animal”) whose lyrics made the audience chuckle. I think quite a few in the audience recognised themselves in the song.
The songs Witch Hazel and New Years Eve were sad and melancholy, but in a way that made you want to curl up on the sofa with your dog and listen to Calÿpso tell you stories and make you feel that its okay to be sad sometimes.
The final solo song, before the duets, was Please, which was a ballad and showed off Calÿpso powerful vocal ability.
After a short interval to restock with drinks, the main act, Alex Softley took the stage. Softley is a singer/songwriter/musician from Salisbury based in London.
Alex Softley also had great audience interaction and has a smoky, relaxed voice that perfectly suits the guitar vocal style.
His latest single, 'Overthinking' was released in September and has already racked up over a thousand of listens on Spotify. Other tracks included False Confidence, On The Way Up and Walk By The Riverside. The guitar playing on False Confidence was particularly enchanting played with a Capo very low on the neck to produce a very engaging finger-picking melody. You Were Giants was particularly poignant introduced by Softley as dedicated to a cousin who died too young.
Retreat and Retreat Part 2 were excellent as was the cover of Teenage Dirtbag, which had everyone singing along.
A particular highlight was when Alex introduced a spot where he covers a song he hates and tries to make it into something he (and everyone else) will like. The song for tonight was Believe by Cher. Yes, the massively Auto-Tuned 'hit' that was one of those low points in modern music. Yes, I think it is safe to say that this reviewer also hates that song. Well, Softley ripped it up and remade it into a brilliant one. All previous versions, especially the abomination by Cher, should be Rickrolled to Alex Softley version if we can get him to record it properly. Next Year's Xmas Number 1 anyone? I feel a campaign coming on.
All in all, a very polished performer and a great gig. Alex Softley's music can be found on Spotify and Soundcloud.
A couple of duet stints with Calÿpso who played an outstanding role as support act and foil included No Diggity and a few Xmas songs to close out the night. Since they had only met three days prior, their combined ability to play and sing together in harmony and combine so beautifully is testament to both their talents.
Bands on Demand