Words & Photos by Shirin Hodgson-Watt

I like quirky venues, and I’m still wearing the sand on my boots from the hike across the beach to this one days later. Maybe I just like mementoes, or maybe I just need to get a bit more disciplined when it comes to boot polishing? Anyway, in this instance my slapdash approach to footwear came courtesy of a restaurant shack (in the nicest possible sense of the word) on the Cornish coast, the ideal setting for a laid back night to launch Stone Roots’ latest EP, ‘Some Kind of Sign’.

Ben Thorpe by Shirin Hodgson-Watt Photography 

Opening up the evening was a new name for me, singer songwriter Ben Thorpe. No, stick with me, ‘singer songwriter’ is a lazy term in many ways, but the songs he writes and sings are anything but, conjuring up unexpected echoes of Jeff Buckley and carrying a welcome edge that is perhaps often missing from the genre. Genuinely intriguing, and a name to keep tabs on.

Suzie Mac by Shirin Hodgson-Watt Photography

Second artist of the night was Cornish favourite (and key target for major hair envy on my part), Suzie Mac. Despite her current well documented serious health concerns, Suzie continues to be one of those confusingly dazzling types, someone whose good nature is damnably infectious (just don’t tell anyone I said that, I’m hanging onto my Goth Card by my fingertips as it is), her gospel tinged soul as passionate and, well, soulful, as ever. With a full band and a fluid double act alongside her equally be-glittered backing singer, Ms Mac continues to make it look far, far too easy.

Stone Roots by Shirin Hodgson-Watt Photography

Stone Roots pulled out every single stop for this night, planning each detail meticulously from the imported horn section to the glow stick lanyards for the entire audience. Heralding the release of their new EP, ‘Some Kind of Sign’, their funk driven soul is dusted with a welcome pop sheen, keeping their sound fresh and current so they never run the risk of simply retreading well worn ground. Front woman Holly channels 1940s film noir, despite the disco glitz of her covetable sequin bomber jacket, making my job as a photographer far too easy, and the band, a well oiled, polished thoroughbred machine, didn’t put a toe wrong, something that was all too apparent from the audience response. As launch pads go, they couldn’t have hoped for anything more.