If we asked you to picture a small venue, what would spring to mind?
You may conjure up an image of a dark and dingy basement, complete with sweat-stained walls and a huddle of too-scary-to-be-approachable bar staff. You might think of a windowless box, with a stage that barely rises a foot off the ground and a sound system that’s more suited to a wedding DJ than a fully-fledged rock band.
Heck, you might even think of your local pub, with its lingering stench of lager-soaked carpet and bar stools that have been permanently dented by the weight of a thousand backsides.
They’re not generally pleasant, are they
Do you long for something more for your money? Is there a hole in your soul that can only be filled by the knowledge of a beautiful live music venue that nobody else seems to know about?
You do? And there is? Well, isn’t that funny. Fortunately for you, we think we’ve found just the place.
Exeter’s Higher Eggbeer Farm isn’t like most venues.
As you pull in to the car park, you’re greeted by the rolling hills of the South Devon countryside. You walk around a corner, and there’s a line of flaming torches guiding you towards a barn. You smile – you can’t help it.
You step inside the barn, being careful not to hit your head on the low-hanging wooden beams above the door. Friendly men with wooden trays offer you pulled pork rolls as you walk through the door. You’re shown to your seat; it’s a hay bale. It’s charming, and you like it. Indeed, what’s not to like? The stage is barely a foot high, the room is packed full of music lovers, and the entire barn is lit by flaming torches. There are beautiful rooms, and then there’s this. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen, and you can’t help but to be taken aback by it.
The music wasn’t half bad either
Now, correct us if we’re wrong, but we firmly believe that a great gig venue deserves to play host to a great gig. As it happens, the line-up for this edition of Exeter’s brilliant Loft Live Sessions was rather special indeed:
She may be young, but this girl has serious talent. The seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter opened the night’s proceedings, and we couldn’t help but feel bad for anyone who had to follow her. Her half-hour set was primarily comprised of covers – Jeff Buckley‘s Hallelujah and Death Cab For Cutie‘s I Will Follow You Into The Dark, to name a couple – but her self-penned original tracks were the undoubted highlight.
If you don’t believe us, check this out: it’s a video of Lottie performing her track Solivagant, and it’ll show you exactly what we mean when we say that she’s one of Devon’s most promising young singer/songwriters:
Damn, this guy is good. You might have seen him when he appeared on the first series of The Voice, but he’s somehow managed to get even better since then. His set at Higher Eggbeer Farm consisted of tracks from his debut album Traintracks, and he even managed to squeeze in a pretty impressive Bob Marley/Will Smith medley. If you get the chance to see him live, then take it – we can guarantee that you won’t regret it.
Brother And Bones
We’re honestly perplexed as to why these guys aren’t selling out massive venues. The alt-rock five-piece are known for their blistering live performances, so it was a real treat to see them perform a stripped-back acoustic set in a venue as intimate as Higher Eggbeer Farm.
You want us to pick a highlight from their set? Damn, that’s hard. Well, if we were forced to pick, we’d probably plump for To Be Alive. The recorded version is a roaring beast of an atmospheric arena-rock song, but the acoustic version is a different beast altogether. It’s harmonic, it’s heartfelt, and it allows frontman Rich Thomas to show off his blistering vocals: