Gemma Ray mesmerises

The lady means business and you can see that by the way she has managed to turn a rather hefty knife into a guitar accessory. We better applaud, I thought to myself. This is one woman you don’t want to piss off. But in the end the applause came fast and loud – as did the calls and whistles and shouts for more – and it had more to do with the powerful, mesmerizing voice that was filling Coach & Horses than with any knife.

I’m talking about yesterday’s live performance by Gemma Ray, of course.  Those who missed it are still in time to experience a gig that is memorable on all levels as the singer will be playing at the same venue once again tonight. Coach&Horses is just the right location  for  this intimate style of gig, with the dark, candle-lit bar area setting a beautiful vibe.

Gemma Ray’s music has been described somewhere as the “perfect Tarantinoesque soundtrack” and this is certainly true. But the singer’s music is much more than a soundtrack to a movie, it is more like a soundtrack to life. In the two hours she graced the stage yesterday we were treated to tracks from across her four albums.

I’m way too tired this morning to go into the finer nuances of her tracks – if you were not there yesterday, go see for yourself tonight. Many of those who were present last night will be returning this evening as well (yes, she was that good) so do secure tickets beforehand given the size of the venue (details below).

Oh, and the knife – well, it’s not just an accessory. You really have to see what the lady can do with a humble kitchen utensil and a not-so-humble guitar. I’ve uploaded 2 videos for you to get a taster; given that I’m not exactly a pro and the only light source was candlelight, the visuals are crap (or rather, non-existent)  but the sound is decent enough for you to enjoy. Needless to say, it doesn’t even half compare to the real deal. So…get those tickets by calling/texting 99846382.

From a technical point of view it is difficult to find flaws with Gemma Ray’s music or even her execution. Her voice does this thing where it seamlessly works itself into the harmonies so that what you are left with is a haunting explosion of music that fills your head. It’s not only the power of her vocals, it is also her prowess on the guitar, the way she knows just how to time a dramatic pause, the way she combines elements of blues with folk and creates a rather retro and definitely individual sound.

The drummer, Andrew Zammit (yes, Zammit! There’s a story behind that and they will be happy to share it)  contributes in no mean way to the overall effect. His technique punctuates both vocals and guitar perfectly; there’s no sense of overpowering any element of the music, this is one seamless (there’s that word again, but I can’t think of one that applies better) collaboration that these two have going and the audience benefits from it.

I leave you with this: it’s been pointed out that whenever there is a Hairyamp event I tend to leave glowing reviews. This is because I’m not one of those writers who like to criticise for the sake of it, who feel that their cred will be threatened if they leave a good review.  I subscribe to the school of uncool – if the event is a good one, let’s get excited and yell for more. I’ve also said this before – I run this blog for my own enjoyment, so I tend to make an effort only for those events that I do enjoy as opposed to the crap ones.

This gig was a joint effort between Hairyamp Promotions and Coach & Horses. Hairy Amp always, but always strike gold with their choice of artists and have played a significant part in putting Malta on the international indie circuit. Remember the Nil By Mouth sessions, Therapy?, Handsome Furs etc. Coach & Horses have hosted the likes of Pete Molinari, Le Rose & Patrick Duff amongst others. So yes, credit where credit is due. Keep them coming.





  1. tonio pace says:

    .. well said ramona .. cheers :)

  2. Gail (Stuart Murdoch's potential future wifey) says:

    Lovely review as always Ramona!