REVIEW: Sadie & The Hotheads St George's Bristol 7/10
I ONCE saw action hero Steven Seagal play the blues with his band Mojo Priest. In no part of the gig was reference made to the fact that this was action hero Steven Segal, star of such films as Under Siege and Under Siege 2 on the guitar and lead vocals. It was all about the music, man.
St George's was promoting Sunday evening's gig by Sadie and The Hotheads as featuring Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern as their frontwoman.
But on the night, the US-born actress, who on the television screens of millions plays Cora, Countess of Grantham in the smash ITV drama series, was just the lead singer, much to the disappointment of many in the audience who had probably come to hear some Downton anecdotes.
They would have left disappointed not to have heard behind the scenes gossip about Hugh Bonneville, but certainly not disappointed at the standard of this gig by a band who have played together now for 20 years.
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"We try to be cool," McGovern said in one of her many chats with the audience between songs. "But I will be honest with you; we're old and I'm married."
Because Downton Abbey is a period drama, for all its success the actors can walk down the street unrecognised. And McGovern is unrecognisable from Cora, here fronting a band while playing guitar. And of course talking in her Californian accent.
LA Days was a song about her past, one that she joked involved her dreaming about leaving Hollywood and playing at a venue like St Geporge's.
Backed by a lively band with instruments including a bouzouki and penny whistle, McGovern's singing style was reminiscent of Marianne Faithfull; dry and raspy, but one imbued with years of experience.
Like being a mother watching her children at swimming galas, which led to her writing Drops of Rain, another about old boyfriends and another about flirting.
According to McGovern, the St George's audience was "sweet and lovely and good". An apt description also of this gig.