Live Review | The Wheelhouse, Wombwell | Review by Allan Wilkinson
In lieu of the Australian flag, which was still in the post by the time support singer Gerry McNeice opened proceedings at the Wheelhouse in Wombwell tonight, the white rose of God’s Own County flew in its place, prompting discussions during the course of the evening on the subject of which county actually won the Wars of the Roses? We Yorkshiremen have stubbornly short memories when it comes to some subjects! The Chloe Hall Trio hail from a place that couldn’t be further away from our 15th Century punch ups, unless you climb aboard a space ship is. Melbourne, Australia is home to all three members of this tight little outfit, led by singer-songwriter Chloe Hall and supported by two musicians, Chris Milden on bass (and puns!) and Teal Bain-Roben on percussion. Performing songs predominantly from Chloe’s latest album Outside, her second full length record, the two male companions of the road provided much more than a tight rhythm section, but some of the most deliciously harmonious singing ever to be heard in the confines of Hedley’s shed. Starting with the title song from the new album, the tall ever smiling singer had to use little effort in getting the audience to join in on the song’s uplifting chorus. “It’s Not Too Late to Change” addresses the ongoing difficulty a government has in apologising for its past, in this case the treatment of the indigenous peoples of Australia. As a former Alzheimer’s Australia worker, Chloe used her subsequent artistic credentials to recreate in her poetry, part of an interview with a carer who describes the moment he first laid eyes on his wife, the woman he now cares for in late stage dementia. “Dance With Me” is a beautiful song, which perfectly describes what it means to care for someone. This reviewer’s usual aversion to anything by Sting was temporarily suspended with the trio’s version of “Message in a Bottle”, which closed the first set. Chloe’s own particular metaphor for turbulent waters is evident in the infectious Shipwreck, a highly personal song, which remains one of her own live favourites, not least for the highly contageous chorus. The same could be said for the “Don’t Say Goodbye”, which received a thunderous applause from the packed Wheelhouse audience. Finishing on a note of optimism with a deserved encore, “Born in the Morning” reminds us all that tomorrow is another day and to make the most of it. With practically every one of the songs from the new album performed during the course of the two sets, as well as a memorable Police cover and a debut UK performance of a brand new song, which addresses our aesthetically tainted landscapes, the Chloe Hall Trio joined the impressive list of Wheelhouse success stories.