15 April 2017, Common Room, Hastings
Stretch returned to his home town to play a sold-out gig at the Common Room on Saturday night. Described as an “alt-country” musician, there were definite tones of rock and hints of blues in there too. Stretch warmed us – and himself – up with heartfelt ballads before really getting serious with some loud guitar, kick drum and harmonica. After belting out half a dozen more tunes off his newly-released album Bury All Horses, he was joined on stage by bass guitarist and drummer.
Stretch totally captivated the throng (it was jiggling room only) with his magnetic personality. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye throughout and made us feel his excitement to be back at the Common Room in what he described as his home town. He asked a couple of times “Does anyone have any questions?” – a unique way of involving the crowd. “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” someone responded, to which he graciously replied that he was still looking for his wings! Handing out shakers to the audience not only pleased the fans but added musically to the experience.
Stretch’s songs were all catchy and toe-tapping and as is usual for the Common Room, attracted a wide range of people. His voice is beautiful and soulful; his energy infectious. “Come Back to my Arms” and “Outside” both hint at heartbreak yet still manage to uplift, while the foot-stomping, roof-raising, first track off his album, “Less Rock, More Roll” even had the staff pushing their way to the front of the crowd to dance.
More than two hours of rocking culminated in the longest riff-while-thanking-the-musicians I have ever witnessed, and a three-pronged encore (loudly requested by the audience). This was a live act I’ll make sure to see again.