When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 8 May 2012
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE
We’re excited to be working with ahab for the first time.
Following the release of their 2009 CD a.h.a.b., Callum Adamson and Dave Burn were invited to play a residency at the famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge during the Country Music Awards festival in Nashville, Tennessee. They recruited Seebs Llewellyn and Luke Price and spent a week playing two shows a day to packed houses, and were even given an invite to record at Warner Studios in Nashville.
ahab returned to London and decided to make the new line-up permanent. They spent two months busking in east London, which is where their unique sound took shape – four-part harmonies accompanying accomplished songwriting. While busking, the band created such a stir on the streets that they were warned by police not to perform at markets as the crowds that gathered were blocking the streets. It was time to look further afield.
In August 2010 ahab were invited to play Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival on the strength of a YouTube video of them busking, ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris watched them storm the 15,000 strong crowd from the side of the stage and invited them there and then to record a session for his Saturday night BBC Radio 2 programme. At this point ahab still did not have a CD available for their rapidly growing fan base to take home. So, in October 2010 the band went into London’s Snap Studios to record a five-track EP of self-penned songs. Impressed by the results, Bob Harris offered to host their EP launch at the BBC Club. Then the word got out.
Legendary producer John Leckie attended one of their early shows and offered to return to Snap Studios to record Lucy, a download single. The single was promoted by a 20-strong date national tour – most of the dates selling out in advance. In April 2011 ahab recorded another five-track EP at Real World Studios, once again with John Leckie at the helm. This EP was released on Navigator Records in autumn 2011.
Throughout the summer of 2011, ahab performed at over 20 festivals in the UK and Europe, culminating with the band being invited to join fellow Navigator stablemates Bellowhead as guests on their UK tour. The reviews from this tour were sensational.
‘I loved ahab’s terrific performance at Cropredy festival. They are blistering live – alt-country edge and sheer class’ – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
‘ahab is the real deal – top-notch UK Americana featuring tight four-piece harmonies’ – Simon Mayo, BBC Radio
Local support comes from Hawker Reunion, an alt-folk band who write songs through the rain of Manchester. With leanings towards M Ward, Phosphorescent and Will Oldham, the duo started as a recording project and over recent months have begun turning themselves to live performance already supporting acts such as Monument Valley.
Opener Charlotte Carpenter is one to watch – her unique songwriting style has drawn plaudits and has seen her achieve a dramatic rise over the past year. Touring around the UK for festival appearances including at Beachbreak Live, Barn on the Farm and Y-Not, Charlotte has built up a substantial following. Her independently released EP Let It Go has received great feedback and its video was viewed thousands of times within 24 hours of its release. ‘A very young and innovative musician, she has contemporary melodies laden with traditional influences.’