Live Review: Joe McKee and Ben Salter at The Bird

26 April 2012 | 12:01 pm | Mike Bowring

More Ben Salter More Ben Salter

In a venue that was no doubt depopulated by the festivals gripping the city at this time of year, Rabbit Island still bravely took to the stage with an electric guitar and a microphone set to a soft echo. With a picking style over any strumming, there was a certain sameness to her songs, a slow measure and brooding tone, that had them becoming lost in repetition through the set.

Ben Salter changed things up, his acoustic guitar accompanied by a tambourine firmly under his right foot, and a twitchy capo that, when it did sit still, always found the sweet spot. His lyrics didn't disappoint, being at times introspective, at other times humorously deprecating, delivered through a voice with a good range and high sustain. Mixing in two covers and holding an enjoyable between-song-banter, he definitely won some new fans.

With the venue starting to fill out a little, Joe McKee engaged the loop pedals, to set a light tone in the background before casting a net of dream-like sound over the room. Adding delays and a shimmer to the soft strumming, with a vocal delivery that drawled into the mix, everything was designed to steal away your thoughts. This lure, however, became his greatest flaw – on a song-to-song basis there lacked any variety, and the arrival of the end of the set felt like abruptly waking from a memory you couldn't quite hold on to, and wondering where to find the coffee.