Review: Caezar – The Old Court, Windsor – July 21st, 2018

On a personal note, pre-gig logistics meant we ran the risk of turning up late. We were waylaid getting out the door on time and then our pre-gig meal ran later than we thought. It all came good though and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time for the show. Phew!

I was first introduced to Caezar in late 2016 by a post mentioning their music on the Simple Minds Official Facebook page. I listened to The Prayer at that time and thought the music held much promise.

I kept my eye (and ear) out for them, eager to hear more. Earlier this year came the news that an album would be released in the summer and some live dates would ensue. News came out in April, and as of that time, I could see a few Dutch dates, and then a single UK date for Oran Mor in Glasgow. So, I booked my ticket to see them up there, complete with red-eye coach travel up overnight from London to Glasgow and back again. If it was the only time I would see them, I was willing to make the journey.

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It wasn’t until the subsequent announcement of the release of their debut album, Time, did I see there was a gig taking place in Windsor. Strange! “Why Windsor?”, I wondered. Well, it is now the hometown of Joe Donnelly (also the hometown of the band’s record label boss) and so served as the perfect album launch location. I quietly spat chips, having gone through the logistics and expense (having to really try and do things on a shoe string) of going to Glasgow for the Oran Mor gig, Windsor was much closer to home and would have been much more convenient.

But I thought “Hey, Glasgow is booked. Can’t change it now. But we might as well do BOTH gigs! Let’s go to Windsor too!”

I’m really glad I learned about the Windsor gig and decided to go. The Old Court is a lovely intimate venue…but in the current state of the UK weather, an absolute sweatbox! The auditorium itself had little ventilation. No windows in the room and after a three week run of temps in the constant mid 20s, it really was quite stifling in there. And that was just for the spectators….can’t imagine how it felt being on that stage last night. *fans self with cold flannel*

Louise Connell

Support came from young singer/songwriter Louise Connell. Very folky, sweet sounding music. She has a lovely voice and a rather nervous and shy delivery, but seems rather gregarious between songs with her audience interactions. She was accompanied by Stuart McLeod. I had a feeling he was a relation, perhaps? But, maybe not. Perhaps just a great help and mentor.

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There was an uplifting melancholia to her sound. I liked her set, the highlight for me being her cover of Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place. I’m unsure if she is Caezar’s support at Oran Mor next week, but if she is, I look forward to seeing her again.

Caezar

Welcomed very warmly to the stage. Joe’s family were in to watch, so there was already a groundswell of love and support in the room. Jinky’s banter was typical Weegie – full of machismo and bravado, but funny as f***.

There were “ghosts in the machine” initially which meant the drum track dropped out half way through set opener, Time. A slight adjustment to the set (rotating songs Into The Night and The Presence Of Love) meant things soon got sorted out.

The songs are wonderfully atmospheric and JJ has the voice of an angel. Honestly. I’m not sure I have ever experienced such an amazing live male vocal performance. The man is incredible. Powerfully emotive and nuanced. A true “tour de force”.

After the initial sniggers at the song title, Motherfucker, you find yourself suddenly no longer sniggering with each utterance of the word, as Jinky just puts so much heart into every song, it just becomes an emotional expression. The shock value quickly evaporates.

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Up next was a Silencers song called Bullets And Blue Eyes…compounding that I must also dip my toe into The Silencers back catalogue.

The set then truly takes off (after one further drum track loss…quickly ironed out again) with incredible renditions of The Prayer, Love Is A Reason and I Am Not Afraid.

There is an incredible encore of David Bowie’s I Can’t Give Everything Away and the small crowd erupts into rapturous applause for a fantastic album launch and live set.

What little niggles that happened last night I am confident will be fully ironed out for Oran Mor next week. For one, the boys will be accompanied by a drummer on Friday, so no fear of the loss of the drum track midway through a song.

These niggles detracted none from the overall enjoyment of the music and power of the songs. Joe and JJ really have made some wonderful music together. I would highly recommend if you can get to the gig in Glasgow on Friday, that to go! You will NOT be disappointed.

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I met Joe and Jinky briefly after the gig. Both lovely men. Both happy to mingle and chat and pose for a photo op. Jinky was also gracious enough to sign a copy of the setlist for me.

Thank you, Joe and Jinky for such a wonderful night out. I am really looking forward to seeing you once again on Friday.

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