Live music has returned to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. The venue, the audience, the performers and ourselves, have all been patiently waiting for step 3. Now at last we can enjoy socially distanced, indoor gigs.
But have the restrictions under which venues have to operate changed the experience? Yes, of course it has. But not, in my opinion, in a bad way.
As a venue The Apex has what many smaller venues do not – space. From arrival in the cavernous entrance hall to the auditorium itself, implementing a one-way system was not difficult. I rather liked the café style tables with seating for twos and threes albeit with a capacity of just 100 customers.
On this occasion I was there to see Bessie Turner who describes her sound as “indie-jazzy-pop-noise”. Noise however is defined as unwanted sound; Bessie’s music is far from unwanted.
From the moment Bessie arrived it was obvious how much she had missed playing. Spotting friends and family in the audience she bounced off the stage and circulated to say hi to people she knew, some of whom she had not seen in an exceptionally long time. Her band meanwhile tuned and waited patiently.
Bessie has an undefinable style that does not quite fit into any one genre. This makes her unique. Her stage presence is genuine. There are no pretentions and what you see is what you get.
Her song ‘Stranger Things’ has nothing to do with the Netflix Sci-Fi series, she tells us. But hey, if you were searching for a well-known TV series and happened to come across a new song, by a musician new to you, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?
She challenged us to work out what Pickles is all about – not apparently what you might think. Alas we never got the answer so Bessie will be going on our list of interviewees to answer that one!
Too soon it was all over. Her penchant for sudden endings left us looking at an emptying stage and, alas no encore – doubtless a covid restriction rather than any lack of desire on the part of the band.
Bessie was supported by Huntar, the stage name of Newmarket’s Lewis Mockler who now lives in London. It was interesting to see how he has developed since I last saw him performing at open mic nights around the county. Sharing the stage with drummer Cameron Stewart this was a polished performance.