The Living Room Live’s 6th Birthday Party

KATIE FORSTER joins Hope Street Music for cake, candles and chilled out raga rock…

aaron shanley birthday brooke sharkey folk katie forster Live living room takeda

October 8th, 8.30 at CB2, £4


CB2 wouldn’t normally have struck me as somewhere suitable for a folk gig, with its lacquered wooden floors and clattering acoustics. Luckily the organisers have managed to turn the basement into a cosy haven, perfect for intimate gigs. The room is tiny and everyone sits on the floor on rugs and cushions, tea lights and flowers on the low stage creating the impression of a hippy ‘living room’. The lack of space means that you find yourself getting up close and personal with your neighbours, but no one seems to mind – everyone’s here for the music, man.

First up was 18 year old Josh from Norfolk band Takeda with his self-defined style of ‘chilled out raga rock’. The mix of stripped down tracks taken from his band’s repertoire and beautiful old Irish instrumentals showed him to be a skilful and versatile musician, even when playing alone. A highlight of the set was ‘princess royale’, a hauntingly beautiful arrangement of a harp song for guitar. His final song ‘cocaine’ proved that he needed no stimulant to produce a tight, yet tranquil, sound.

Aaron Sharkey and his band had come all the way from Northern Ireland to play to us. “Go Easy” lent a particularly relaxed air to their performance, setting the tone for the rest of their set. However despite the use of an interesting drum box that doubled up as the drummer’s seat, their Coldplay-esque songs became a bit repetitive and failed to hold the audience’s attention.

Brooke Sharkey provided a breath of fresh air to the underground room with her experimental, bilingual songs, switching effortlessly between French and English just loud enough to make everyone lean forward in intrigue. On stage Brooke was awkward but charming, chatting with the audience and laughing at herself.

The final band, Cambridge favourites The Shivers, transformed the night from a quiet, serious affair to an appropriate celebration for a 6th Birthday party. Their upbeat country-tinged slide guitar ditties performed with infectious smiles and a swig of beer were not technically brilliant, but entertaining, and varied. Songs included ‘sleepy bye bye’, about the trials of being a postman, ‘salad days’, a Dandy Warhols inspired sing along, and ‘155cm of love’ about a vertically challenged ex girlfriend.

To make the evening even better, free birthday cake was handed out to everyone in the audience. Although there was no dancing or party games (as most of the guests were horizontal), this birthday party allowed The Living Room to show itself at its best – as place to chill, appreciate some carefully selected acoustic sounds, and to take a break from student life to enjoy the delights of Cambridge the town.
The next Living Room will take place downstairs at CB2 on 12 November.


Aaron Shanley

Brooke Sharkey