Ed Askew Live @ Cafe Oto, London. 06.12.13

December 7, 2013 3:26 pm

I made the mistake last night (Fri 6th Dec) of starting to drink before I had completed my work for the evening. I’m not a big drinker by any means but last night saw me gulping down two beers before I’d even got off the train to Victoria. After that there was some confusion with the rendezvous point I had decided to meet my partner in crime at. My fault of course. Then there came more drinking at the infamous Water Rats venue before we once again set of on that twisted metal snake known as the London underground.

Our destination that evening was Cafe Oto, a not so glamorous venue in a not so glamorous part of London, this obviously meant it was a hipsters paradise. They were everywhere, in the crowd, in the street, on the ceiling. Everywhere. The reason for this is still unknown, but I have a crack team of experts on the case as we speak and they’ve never failed me yet.

Anyway, the reason for our trip to this hipster Mecca was a man by the name of Ed Askew. A folk legend in some circles, he was due to play his first ever London headline show that evening at around 9pm. However, before we could bask in the fragile and somewhat apocalyptic voice of Ed we had to endure what I can only describe as having your soul put through a paper shredder. Jordan Hunt has apparently been touring with our man Ed for a while and after watching him perform as a support act I can only ask myself why? Ed Askew

Now, I’m not one of these people who say “If you can’t, don’t”, I believe if you have found a way to express yourself you should go with it. Jordan is no different. He has obviously found a way to express himself and he should carry on doing so if it makes him happy, although perhaps not in front of a crowd of people who have paid to be there. For the sake of being “objective” (a word I despise) his piano playing wasn’t bad by any means. In fact it was almost good. His musical style could probably be found somewhere between the likes of Jamie Hunt, James Blake and possibly even Bon Iver or Bastille. If you’re into that you may disagree with me. And that’s fine too, just don’t talk to me about it…

After being more amazed by Jordan Hunt’s suit than his music, the bar called upon me once again. This time I was to sample some unknown beer and after a few sips I came to realise why you probably wouldn’t find this particular beer in any other venues. Then came the turn of Mr Askew to entertain the crowd. After experiencing the support act, my hopes couldn’t exactly be described as high and I expected much of the same. How wrong I was.

If you ever get the chance to see Ed Askew you should. His melancholic voice accompanied by a soft and gentle musical backing was quite something to behold. Having released his first record “Ask The Unicorn” back in 1968, Ed has had plenty of time to reign in and master his approach and master it he has. His performance made you feel like you were the only other person in the room and that he was serenading only you. Jordan Hunt made a reappearance in order to play the violin for Ed and in all fairness could only be faulted once for singing the wrong back up vocal, a mistake that was picked up by Ed himself as he looked back at Jordan and jokingly shook his fist.

Ed AskewEd Askew is a performer that the folk scene owes more than it acknowledges. His soft, melodic vocals and minimalistic onstage presence combine to form an experience you won’t soon forget. After some brief research into his back catalogue before attending the gig, and now having seen him live I can categorically say this; Ed Askew is like a fine wine, improving more and more with age. At 73 he shows no sign of slowing down on his musical contributions to the world and if he did ever decide to pack it in it would be a massive loss not just for the folk scene, but for music in general.

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