Reuben-Bard Rosenburg writes at the Third Estate.
“Boo and hiss to you for abandoning me and Leon Rosselson” my friend Cizzi texted me before the gig. Indeed there are few artists for whom I would turn aside the chance to see Leon Rosselson and Roy Bailey in concert together. Nonetheless, last week’s performance Silver Sam and Anna Giles more than justified so big a decision.
I first encountered Silver Sam a good 8 or so years ago when I started playing open-mic nights. His clever, self-deprecating songcraft made him a favorite amongst those of us who gathered on a weeknight to hear each other’s music – and among many others. Shortly afterwards he encountered his musical and romantic partner Anna Giles, via the kind of open-mic night incident that most boys with acoustic guitars fantasize all too much about (when we’re not crying and wanking). Having been rather inspired by a couple of Sam’s songs, Anna bumped into him on her way to the toilet and exclaimed “I think your wonderful! I love You!”. That twist of fate has been rather a boon to us aficionados of acoustic music.
And so began the carnival of the sincere, the sardonic and the silly. ”I miss your calls, your soufle kiss, that prickly feeling when your close to me”, sang Sam “but out of all those things I miss, just saying that what really matters most to me, what really matters most to me… rumpy pumpy”
In his songs, Silver Sam displays a rare talent for satyrizing life without rubbishing it. Feelings of love, lust and dissapointment are expressed with persuasive sincerity, even as they are woven into narratives that are ridiculous enough to reflect life’s realities.
In fact, my personal highlight of the evening emerged at a relatively sombre moment. Years ago I had heard Anna play a song which simply stuck with me, even though I possessed no recording. And once again I was moved as Anna sang “Can’t Stop the Rain”.
I won’t diminish this song by seeking to speculatively sum up all that it is about. But suffice to say, I agree with Anna’s remark to me be before the show, that the song feels rather relevant right now.
The evening ended appropriately with a tune detailing 6 failed attempts to get in on the “permissiveness” of the 60s, after Sam explained to us that his all-boys public school left him rather ill prepared for the world of women.
All in all, a night of moving, engaging and brilliantly funny songcraft, backed by some fairly expert guitar playing. Keep an eye on Silver Sam’s eyesore of a website. These musicians are worth seeing.