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REVIEW: Scratchy Beard, The Bear Pit, 18th March



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What a rare treat it was to be at the recording of Stratford band Scratchy Beard’s live second album.

Quirky, cool and musically brilliant, Scratchy Beard are the sort of band that allow you to believe that Brexit never really happened.

They play in the round at the Bear Pit, the black box of the adorable little theatre simply bedecked by fairy lights. Watching Scratchy Beard, glass of wine in hand, you feel kind of sophisticated and European. They play a delightful hotchpotch of sounds culled from the nooks and crannies of the continent: a sort of rootsy indigenous musical swirl of Celtic folk, gypsy jazz, foxy blues, string quartets and catchy beats.

Scratchy Beard in rehearsal this week at the Bear Pit. Photo: Mark Williamson B11/3/22/6852. (55485235)
Scratchy Beard in rehearsal this week at the Bear Pit. Photo: Mark Williamson B11/3/22/6852. (55485235)

The band’s debut album, released just before the pandemic a couple of years ago, lived up to its title, Volume One: Folk With Swing, which hints at the good times and dancing vibes contained within its sleeve. This follow-up, Live Lounge Session, again reveals a clue in its name: you’ve had a dance but now you’re sat back down to lounge. Maybe you’re even reclined on an actual lounger. It’s a distinctly more laid-back and reflective affair but still with boogie potential.

Frontman Spesh Maloney’s lyrics are powerful and affecting – whether singing about the love of his life or the quirky vicissitudes of existence, they are first and foremost wonderfully beguiling stories.



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