18
Oct
2009

Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit

I discovered the modern folk scene about two years ago and grew to love many artists under that casual descriptive-umbrella; adding track after track to my iPod where they lived amongst embarrassing company.

However it was only when I heard Johnny Flynn that I felt enamoured enough to stray from my comfort zone and go to a live gig.

So that is what I did last month in Islington. I dragged a friend with me who had no idea who we were going to see and actually favours rap music and RnB despite her plummy tones and Surrey highlights. I also went with my mother and her friend. Perhaps this is not going to score me any rebellious, bohemian youth points, but she appreciates good music and is actually, I think, more hip than me.

So there we were, an unlikely group pitching up at Union Chapel three hours late for the Transgressive Records fifth anniversary concert. We missed several of the other acts which was disappointing as I did have a hankering to see Jeremy Warmsley, who is a new favourite. 

I won’t spend much time on Graham Coxon; he was disappointing and this view was held by others who are much more knowledgeable than me. His between-song-banter was quite funny, but I still miss Blur.

We managed to fit in a very quick bottle of wine at the bar before Johnny came on which gave me a chance to scope out the audience who seemed to me to be entirely made-up of long-haired, pouting, beautiful  boys in holey jumpers. However, they were quickly forgotten when Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit took to the stage. Starting with Cold Bread, a favourite of mine, he was enthralling from the start.  His songs are poetic Shakespeare crossed with Wilde and a nod to Bob Dylan: strong and smoky and far beyond his years. 

His songs Leftovers and The Box, two of my prior favourites and perhaps his most well-known, got the most vociferous reception from the admiring, but generally still crowd, while The Wrote and The Writ seems to chastise all the writers and poets among us.

Johnny Flynn played at:

Union Chapel
Compton Avenue
Islington
N1 2XD

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