Dalston Kingsland, half-eight on a dreary Thursday night, the capital greasily covered with filthy spring rain. This is not at all in keeping with the spirit of the record we’re here to receive, not at all.  Fortunately The Fruitful Earth couldn’t give a flying fuck what it’s like outside. The Servant Jazz Quarters stage is lit for summer and the band are ablaze with smiles.

Sarah Blair (keyboards and vocals) is confident and exuberant in head to toe black (including hat). She’s soaked in orange and yellow light, cheerfully chatting to the crowd in the increasingly sweaty basement of Servant Jazz Quarters.

Bassist David Gordon is limber and fluid, beaming at pretty much every note they play. Drummer Daniel Mayers is impressively tight, effortlessly pounding out the complex beats and changes of rhythm. When Sarah introduces the band she mentions the newness of his drum kit; cue a sheepish but delighted expression, and a smile in the eyes like a little boy on Christmas morning.

They open with the whooping, thundering “Honey Bee” and never let up from there. Although not everything on the set list is from “Rising Sun” (a couple of songs appear from their debut LP and there’s a cover of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) tonight really does showcase the new album’s blazing joy (“Sweet Music” is its manifesto). Piano-powered rock and roll is the order of the evening: the peals of Nicky Hopkins’ Rolling Stones piano, the funk and stomp of the best of Elton John, and the thump and roar of Led Zeppelin.

The album is out now.

Set List:

Honey Bee
Sometimes You Just Don’t Know
Ford Cortina
Natural High
Sweet Music
The Road
Last Train
Up All Night
Live It How You Got To
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Shake
The Islands

Before The Fruitful Earth took the stage, we were treated to the excellent Loose Joints.  This four piece hail from Coggeshall in Essex and play some crunching blues-rock. They’ve got a winning stage presence, some sweet and engaging between-songs banter (including taking the piss out of yours truly for snapping them while they played), insistent toe-tapping beats, and a generous helping of rock’n’roll abandon.  It’s hard to watch them and not want to join in.  I bought their EP “Get Loose” from the nice guitar man, so watch this space for a review.

 

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