Back in 2008 I received an email from a former colleague. Her younger sister was singing with a guy playing the Bedford in Balham (my local, and a lynchpin of South London’s music scene). Did I fancy heading along to the gig, given I lived round the corner?
I did fancy heading along, and that guy turned out to be Frank Hamilton, who played a cracking set of perfectly formed songs. There was an honesty and humour to his lyrics, a tenderness for loves lost, current or never quite won, all tied to excellent melodies and a great voice. I was an instant fan – it’s the sort of thing I’m a total sucker for. After the gig I told him so, signed up to his mailing list, and over the following year or two nabbed the odd MP3 he released.
Sadly those mails seemed to dry up, and whenever You, Your Cat & Me popped up on my iPod I wondered what had happened – he was surely way too good not to be making a success of things.
That blackout lasted until last year, when I rediscovered Frank through his One Song a Week project, then running here on WordPress. It was just as it sounds – he wrote, recorded and released one song a week throughout 2012. The concept was much like his songs, really; deceptively simple, rarely done so well.
A collection of those songs is on iTunes and is a brilliant buy. It’s easily my most played album this year (though Alt-J are doing well at the mo). The bedroom production means the songs need to stand on their own merits, and that they do effortlessly. As ever, it’s the hallmark of a great album that I seem to have a different favourite each time I go back.
Anyway, this is all a long-winded preamble to the fact that last night Frank played Highbury Garage, and the gig just underlined what a massive talent he is. In a way he’s come on miles from that Bedford show five years ago – more confident, more polished – but the most important things were just as I remembered. Wonderful tunes, clever lyrics; it was great to see a man whose star is surely back on the rise.
A few shots from last night, shot with my now trusty Fuji X-E1, pepper this post.
Oh, and excuse the first-name term vibes in this post. Maybe it’s the way I first discovered his music, or his conversational presence on social media, or simply because his songs so consistently strike a chord with me, but it can almost feel like I sorta know Frank, just a little bit. I’d love to see him get the success I think he deserves. Going by last night’s atmosphere, I suspect I’m not the only one.