In a new blog post, Heather Findlay has announced that her headline show in Zoetermeer on April 13th will be filmed for release as a DVD.
This is very welcome news. As I’ve said before, Heather has yet to release anything on record that sounds quite like she does live with a full electric band; not only do the live dynamics bring the songs from The Phoenix Suite to life, but radical new arrangements transform some of her older material into something quite different from the originals. Particular highlights on the last tour were a near-metal take on Odin Dragonfly’s “Magpie”, an interesting electrified and percussion-heavy version of “Bitterness Burnt”, and “Flowers For Guns” turned into a fantastic Nile Rogers style funk number. I really hope all three end up on the DVD.
She’s also announced a temporary lineup change in her band for the short Dutch tour. With Chris Johnson temporarily unavailable the second guitarist for these three dates will be Sam Forrest. He’s not a permanent replacement, and Chris Johnson remains a part of The Heather Findlay Band.
As for the new album, currently in the writing stage, at the moment I think it’s best to keep an open mind. In the past she has send out a lot of mixed messages over the sort of music she wants to make, and the sort of audience she wants to play to. It’s a crucially important record for her, and of course it’s entirely up to her what musical direction she goes in.
The one new song “Shine” played on her tour at the end of last year was a great groove-led Led Zeppelin style rock number, and I’m hoping for more in that vein. Between her electrifying live shows and her acoustic album “Songs From The Old Kitchen” Heather gave the impression of having one foot in the classy hard rock camp, and one foot in the folk/roots/Americana camp, and that points at a sort of direction I hope the new album might take. She certainly does both of those too well to focus exclusively on one at the expense of the other. But we will just have to wait and see; she may decide to do something altogether different and unexpected.
We won’t be seeing a full UK tour for another year, which I know has disappointed some people. But, perhaps in response to the feeling that a full year without without a single UK appearance was far too long, there will now be a one-off event later this year to play the new album. If Heather or any of her team are reading this, please do hold this in a suitable sized venue such that everyone who wants to come is able to do so; don’t make it another of those artificially limited exclusives where only those who happen to be online at exactly the right moment have any chance.
Edit: An earlier version of this post did not make it clear that Chris Johnson is still part of Heather’s band and is only missing the three Dutch gigs. I have corrected this.