This was the eleventh time I’ve seen Breathing Space live, and the seventh time this year.
It’s amazing how far this band have come since I first started following them; I first saw them live playing in a pub in York last February; that night wasn’t a terribly good gig, as they struggled with serious technical and sound problems, but I could see they had potential. Towards the end of last year they released the superb album “Coming Up For Air” which surpassed my expectations. Then at a small club in Mansfield this June they played an absolutely spellbinding gig which for me was the point where it became clear they were playing in the same league as their fellows in the ‘York/Swansea scene’.
Bilston continued this progress. Having seen some small crowds at Breathing Space gigs I wondered what sort of audience they’d attract on a Sunday night. But while the place was by no means full, they pulled a healthy sized crowd.
As at the Mansfield gig, the support was a semi-acoustic set from Mermaid Kiss, this time playing as a four-piece without Jon Edwards on keys. While they were good, I didn’t think they quite had the edge they’d had the last time I saw them; the sound was a bit muddier and I missed Jon’s keys. Still, Evelyn Downing was on fine form, even though her distinctive vocal style is not to everyone’s taste, and Wendy Marks’ assorted woodwinds gave some excellent backing.
Breathing Space’s performance was up to the standards I’ve come to expect, everyone on top form as usual. With only two albums worth of songs, there wasn’t much in the way of real surprises in the setlist (No return of “Shades of Grey”), except for the live première of a new song, “Butterflies and White Feathers”. Difficult to judge on one listen, but it’s an atmospheric beginning and some great Hammond organ at the end. It’s interesting different from anything they’ve done before, while still sounding like Breathing Space. It augers well for their next album, which they plan to record next April.