Concert Review – I.O.T.A

Review by Ben Macnair with photos by Dave Jones

The critically acclaimed singers Sally Barker, Marion Fleetwood and Anna Ryder bought their newly formed ensemble I.O.T.A to play an evening of their own inventive songs, and some choice covers when they appeared at the guildhall, as part of their tour.
The trio played songs mainly taken from their latest release, O Yeh Yeh! A stage strewn with a music shop worth of instruments, banjo, cello, numerous guitars, keyboards, accordion, and glockenspiel, some adventurous musical combination and some of the finest three part vocal harmonies meant that this was a concert that packed in plenty of sonic surprises.

The songs had a lyrical and topical edge, with the lovers Carol and Beryl mistaken, as they got older for sisters, or the tinder love story of Susie and Bareth, which warned of the dangers of love in this technological age.

A radically slowed down version of It’s Not Unusual, an original hit for Sally Barker’s The Voice mentor Tom Jones, with its soft piano chords and cello showed the song in a new light, whilst the Cajun flavoured All I Want, which closed the first half featured lively accordion and fiddle interludes.

In what was probably a unique experience, the trio sang the raffle, whilst the brooding folk song The Gypsy Queen showed the ensemble’s vocal harmonies of to the greatest effect. Downfall featured the unsual sound of Anna Ryder’s slide banjo, and Is It Me? Is It You? featured a slide guitar and banjo counter-point that fed directly into the mood of the song.

To Love Somebody by the Bee Gee brought the house down, before an encore of the affecting Who Knows Where The Time Goes? showed both the pedigree and potential that this group has.

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