High Fives 2021 No.20 – Mike Butterworth


We thought we’d said goodbye to 2021’s High Fives but here’s a late contribution from Mike Butterworth with some great shots from gigs he’s managed to get to this year. We may have a final Hogmanay contribution from Allan on the 31st; who knows?

Photo courtesy of Johnny Ng

Like last year many of my usual festivals were postponed again and many of the independent and small venues were not open for business, this includes The Half Moon at Putney who were forced to close and break their run of live music every day since they started in 1963!

Nile Rodgers @ The Big Feastival, Oxfordshire

At only my second festival of the year there was an amazing headline performance by Nile Rodgers. An incredible musician and although I was aware of his broader influence, he played songs from several artists, as well as classic Chic songs.

Nile Rodgers & Chic – The Big Feastival

With Bernard Edwards (also from Chic), Rodgers wrote and produced music for other artists, including the songs “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and “We Are Family” for Sister Sledge and “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down” for Diana Ross. After Chic’s breakup in 1983, Rodgers produced several major albums and singles for other artists, including David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, “Original Sin” by INXS, Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” and “Notorious”, and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”. He later worked with artists including The B-52s, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, The Vaughan Brothers, Bryan Ferry, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, and Daft Punk, winning three Grammy Awards in 2014 for his work on their album Random Access Memories.

Nile Rodgers & Chic – The Big Feastival

Leddra Chapman @ The Jazz Café, Camden

Like many gigs this year, a lot of them were ones that were rescheduled from 2020. This gig was supposed to be played on the 10th anniversary of the release of Leddra’s debut album ‘Story’, but as it was postponed for the third week March 2020, we had to wait 19 months! She rose to prominence when her debut single, “Story”, was released on 7 December 2009 to much critical success and strong radio support and play from Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2 during his last weeks as host of the station’s breakfast show.

Leddra Chapman – Jazz Cafe

Playing to a full house, and so pleased to finally be playing to an audience, Leddra perfomed all the songs from her debut album.

Leddra Chapman – Jazz Cafe

Cloudy Galvez @ Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston

Cloudy is an up-and coming artist pioneering the introduction of a new sound: 12-string progressive soul with a touch of pop. Whether accompanied by drums and bass, or solo, Cloudy delivers one thing live that other artists don’t: the non-stop set. The songs flow from one to another through beautiful improvised transitional sections, allowing the music to breathe and do the talking for itself. It truly is a captivating continuous mix of original material, packed with push-and-pull, catchy hooks and beautiful melodies inspired by her Colombian heritage, designed to catch your attention and stay in your head for days.

Cloudy Galvez – Servant Jazz Quarters

This evening, being her first full gig since contracting long COVID, she was only able to play a six-string guitar as her usual 12 string is still too heavy. Another notable difference was her more conventional set, with breaks between her songs – as she still doesn’t have the energy to play continuously. That said, her slightly lower tone to her voice, requiring a lower key for one of her songs, was sounding amazing and a remarkable achievement given her situation a year ago. Many of the songs were reflective of her last 18 month, not only of lockdown, but the dramatic changes in her own life as a result of COVID.

Cloudy Galvez – Servant Jazz Quarters

Lauren Housley @ The Half Moon, Putney

Lauren is a singer and songwriter hailing from Yorkshire, UK. Her love of music started early, with a deep connection to great songs, the craft of storytelling and an emotive vocal performance. “It was like magic to me, that music could have such an impact on the way I felt. It became my therapy.”

Lauren Housley – The Half Moon Putney

Lauren Housley is the ‘GIRL FROM THE NORTH’ whose new album was released in April 2021. Dealing with love, loss and the turbulence of growing up and learning about life, Lauren brings a refreshing air of optimism and heart-warming hope with an empowering belief in oneself to overcome obstacles. Hear some of Lauren’s new, unreleased material in a stripped-back intimate setting.

This was the first gig at The Half Moon Putney since their closure in March 2020. Lauren, the band, and the audience were all so appreciative of this opportunity to be part of a live performance.

Lauren Housley – The Half Moon Putney

Natalie Shay @ The Camden Assembly

Natalie Shay is an indie pop/rock artist & BRIT School graduate hailing from North London. The multi award-winning musician has established an ever-growing presence, media acclaim and a loyal fanbase through her explosive live performances and viral-worthy anthems, recognising her as one of the UK’s hottest emerging talents.

Natalie Shay – Camden Assembly

Shay sold out two headline shows in 2019, with her music continuing to pique the interest of notable publications such as Billboard, Clash and The Line of Best Fit. To date, she has amassed hundreds of thousands of streams, with her single, ” being placed in Spotify’s New Music Friday, New Pop UK & Wholesome Editorial Playlists. She has also worked on EDM tracks, racking up over 2 million streams to date.

Natalie Shay – Camden Assembly

Natalie is now set to release her latest 80s inspired single, New Wave, delivering a relatable anthem for those new lovers.

She performed a powerful and accomplished set headlining what was going to be the release party for her last EP, but as that was released in April 2020, we all had to wait 18 months because of COVID restrictions. However, it was well worth the wait, especially as she included a new song about coming to terms with who she is, past, present and future – that she wrote during lockdown. The full band added to the depth of the performance. These are just a few of the many amazing performance I’ve seen this year. It was really nice to be back as some great grass roots venues. Another great year of live music, in spite of the limited access due to the pandemic.

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