Easily Fixed

On board the Walk The Plank Boat, Canning Dock
3rd March 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

Picking my way through a dark and snowy night I begin to wonder why I accepted this review. I pass through a large wrought iron gate and through the sleet I can see a shadowy outline of a boat moored on the dockside. Still in relative darkness I tentatively walk across what can only described as a gangplank, onto the boat itself. A man dressed in overalls and a beanie hat walks past, points to a door and signals me to go inside.

The interior of the boat is a much more jovial affair. Once I have navigated a set of particularly steep stairs, I am greeted by a cheery lady and pointed in the direction of a small makeshift bar. A hand-painted sign saying ‘no liquor’ hangs above a table, on which sits a few bottles of beer and a handful of spirits. The lighting is low and moody, mostly provided by a string of fairy lights and a few spotlights. A dozen or so tables have been set out in the hold, each covered with a tablecloth and sporting a small tea-light.

The stage - located at the bottom of the stairs - is adorned with a variety of musical instruments ranging from a marimba (a larger relative of the xylophone) to guitars and a harp. The scene is set for ‘Easily Fixed’, a concert of raw acoustic music played back to back by five musicians. The evening begins with an a cappella performance by a female who remains out of sight at the top of the stairs. Her vocals are smooth and pleasant, complementing the relaxed mood of the twenty or so people listening. Stan the harpist follows by playing an intense piece that demonstrates some incredibly dexterous finger work. Emma Welsby then shows an incredible talent on the marimba, using four sticks at once to produce a magical sound. The hour-long performance is completed with a four-piece band playing jangly scouse pop and an acoustic set by singer/songwriter Karen, who also organised the night.

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