A small West End theatre is not the ideal venue for Mary Gauthier. With an act far better suited to bar-rooms and stand-up venues, this seemed a strange choice for Mary’s only London date on her 2007 tour. Comparing with her Bristol gig at St Bonaventure’s Social Club, I am guessing that this was a showcase for industry-type guests. It seemed that the fans were seated from Row G back, with guests to the front or even upstairs. Not that there’s anything wrong with hearing gems from the back catalogue, ‘Drag Queens and Limousines’, ‘Camelot Motel’ and ‘I Drink’ to name a few, but there are songs from her new album ‘Between Daylight and Dark’ that deserved an outing. So the very moving ‘Thanksgiving’ gave way to ‘Christmas in Paradise’ as a selection from Mary’s repertoire of “miserable holiday songs” and so on. Another surprising omission was ‘Soft Place to Land’. But enough carping – we can all think up our dream gig.
Mary’s stories, like her songs, are full of truth and wit, particularly when explaining why she’s “a freak” in Nashville, as she can’t sing the usual he-loved-me-and-left-me songs – “that wouldn’t be honest”, she said with a wink. Lots of powerful songs too, with ‘Mercy Now’ (Iraq) and ‘Can’t Find The Way’ (Katrina) being the most topical.
If Mary’s playing at a dive near you, then don’t miss out – you’re in for a treat.