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