By Lewis lowe
To accompany the release of his second album ‘Release the Fear’, singer-songwriter Natty brought his 2016 Candlelit Tour to Newquay’s Ohana. A perfect location perched atop a cliff with an intimate vibe and a beautiful garden with dazzling views of the bay. Having already listened to his new record extensively I was more than excited to hear it played in such a small and perfectly chosen venue. Unseasonably high August winds had unfortunately meant that the show would have to remain inside; it was a shame as the tunes from his latest offering are tailor made for beautiful sunsets and warm summer evenings. Despite this I had no doubt that I would still enjoy the show, I’ve seen Natty numerous times over the years starting with him winning over a lively Reading Festival crowd back in 2008. He is always a brilliantly warm and entertaining musician, with soul warming music and magnetic charisma. It came as a complete surprise to me then that at a gig where he offered such intimacy he was met with so much disrespect from the audience.
Walking in to the venue the scene was set perfectly, with straw bales for seats and fairy lights illuminating the stage, it created a good atmosphere however I had to cast off early worries about how drunk some of the attendees were as I was sure that when the music started, things would settle. Except it didn’t. Now, I’ve been to plenty of gigs so I know what to expect with certain crowds, talking, drinking and the general bustling at the bar are part of the package but this was beyond that. Early songs were marred by someone connected with the bar talking loudly on the phone right next to the stage. Why you would invite an artist to play at your establishment and then talk over them when they are trying to play is beyond me but it showed no signs of quietening down once all the friends and family turned up to discuss anything other than their enjoyment for the music. People on the opposite side of the venue were treated to the loud jokes and conversation of four women who were oblivious to the disruption they were causing to the evening. It hardly came as shock that they were often in the only toilet for ridiculous amounts of time before emerging blurry eyed and wiping their noses. Natty remarked early on that he’d ‘often played without a mic’ and speakers’ at previous shows in the tour, the look of disbelief on his face was hard to ignore throughout the night with constant requests to settle falling on deaf ears. Genuine fans determined to enjoy the evening regardless sang along to all the fan favourites including, ‘Bedroom Eyes’, ‘July’ and ‘Coloured Souls’ whilst newer songs sounded great stripped down to suit the acoustic guitar set up. After a couple of the most disruptive audience members staggered drunkenly out of the venue mid-song the general feeling in the venue began to improve. It was however too late and even the brilliant ‘Cold Town’ and a sobering performance of ‘Rain Clouds’ from his new album to round of the show couldn’t make up for the earlier disruption leaving the fans and I’m sure Natty disappointed with the evening.
I’ve never seen such a basic disrespect for an artist that people had paid to see and it left me feeling perplexed about why they had even bothered to attend. Luckily Natty has upcoming shows in Falmouth and St.Ives so I will get to hear the new material again soon, hopefully with a more embracing crowd.