Josh Pyke and Emma Pollock @ The Hare and Hounds, 21st March 2010


Life with Birmingham Live is full of challenges. Tonight I’m without my regular reviewing sidekick and have the prospect of seeing Emma Pollock co-headlining with Josh Pyke.

It is an interesting combination. One is the epitome of Scottish indieness, thoughtful lyrics, brash guitars and controlled energy the other I know little about other than he is a singer/songwriter from Australia.

It’s sadly a small audience at the Hare and Hounds, could be that it’s a school day tomorrow or that word didn’t reach far enough.


Emma Pollock and her band are first up. A slow start with cables and technical bods had Emma chatting early on, later between songs telling us she wished she was funny, no need when you are so endearing. The new album “The Law Of Large Numbers” was featured with Hug the Harbour opening.

The set was a mix of full band, and then stripped down vocals and keyboards for new songs like Confessions and the beautiful House on the Hill. Paper and Glue was played early in the set and closed with the single I Could be a Saint.

After a short break Josh Pyke arrives on stage and the evening changes pace. I’ve seen a host of troubadour types, nice solo guys with guitars and I sometimes find myself daydreaming, not so this time. Maybe it’s the Australian touch, the warmth of the crowd towards him, or simply that his words conjure imagery and then deliver a degree of bite.


The crowd split into a part seated, part standing festival tent type arrangement. It’s a relaxing and mellow experience. He talks about the friendship that Emma’s band has shown him, touring together in the van and makes jokes before the song Summer and how we must be longing for that here.

Stand out songs for me are Lighthouse Song, Sew my Name and Factory Fires. His last album Chimney‘s Afire came out late in 2008 and was a no1 album in Australia. Another other album is planned for next year and then he will tour, although it could be a while after that before he comes back to the UK, but he promises to return.


A gentle ending to a quality performance by both acts.

Set List for Josh Pyke:
Memories and Dust
Private Education
Lines on Palms
Candle in Your Window
Lighthouse Song
Our House Breathing
Sew My Name
Make You Happy
Fill You In
Factory Fires
Middle of the Hill

Review and Photos – Steph Colledge

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