Packet of three – Mike Last 20/07/06
For Mike Last it’s a warm-up gig, but revellers at Exeter’s Havana club on Friday night wouldn’t have known it. Prior to the ‘big one’ on 23rd in Poole supporting Ezio, Mike’s entertaining the crowds on the historic quayside and Havana is a bubbling cauldron of excitement. It’s well known as a restaurant, but has the best stage and music set-up on the Exeter music scene and Mike’s doing the setting and the sound system justice with two full 45-minute sets. Much of the show is his new material together with a smattering of interpretations of other classics.
Working hard on recording his demos in advance of the release of his first CD has obviously honed the lyrics, melodies and arrangements to a fine point. Particularly fine is Mike’s live version of Coming Around, already a great song in demo form on www.mikelast.co.uk but made special by the subtlety of solo acoustic guitar work and the heartfelt ‘give it all’ performance. There’s a depth of emotion oozing from every phrase and the attentive audience are lapping it up. There’s an enthusiastic response to an offer to do requests and bouts of dancing erupts across the room. In a great rendition of Separate, the repeated lyrical phrases provide the most emotive part of the night. Whether the songs are wistful, rejected, accusing or contemplative, he makes you believe he’s lived it. It was a pleasure to be there to see an artist in the making. A warm up? It seemed pretty hot to me.