The Trou­ba­dour at Earls Court. Upstairs is the quirky cof­fee house and restau­rant which I don’t think has changed in appear­ance since I first vis­it­ed it in the 70s. Down­stairs is a venue at the heart of Lon­don’s music scene, a cramped cel­lar which has seen the likes of Bob Dylan grace its stage. Last night it played host to Sadie and the Hot­heads, Sadie being Amer­i­can actress Eliz­a­beth McGov­ern, more recent­ly known as Cora, Count­ess of Grantham in Down­ton Abbey.

The sup­port is Rachael Sage, a singer song­writer and pianist from New York. She plays key­board  and is accom­pa­nied by a cel­list. Rachael radi­ates intel­li­gence and ver­tu­os­i­ty, with clever and wit­ty lyrics. Her style is rem­i­nis­cent of Lau­ra Nyro and a lit­tle of Regi­na Spek­tor. She is an assured per­former, very at ease at com­mand­ing the stage, and she coax­es some laughs from the audi­ence with her self-dep­re­cat­ing, New York Jew­ish humour.

With lit­tle pre­am­ble, Sadie and the Hot­heads take to the stage and launch into their first, and one of their stronger num­bers. Eliz­a­beth McGov­ern is tall and ele­gant, with a yum­my-mum­my-does-rock-chick look – gauzy black and red short dress, ankle boots. Join­ing her on back­ing vocals is  equal­ly tall and ele­gant Lizzie Dean. Eliz­a­beth has assem­bled her­self a fine band. With broth­ers Steve and Simon Nel­son on gui­tar and bouzou­ki, plus a drum­mer, bassist  and key­board play­er, the band have a full, rich sound, and they pro­ceed to pound out a set of num­bers which fair­ly much span the gamut from coun­try veer­ing to rock.

Liz’s voice is pleas­ant and melod­ic but not par­tic­u­lar­ly strong. There’s noth­ing diva-ish about her stage pres­ence, she steps back and allows the band equal billing. Sadie and co are not out there pro­fess­ing to be super-cool and hip, they look like a band just out to have fun, and doubt­less the Down­ton Abbey con­nec­tion has secured Sadie and the Hot­heads their first foot in the door.

The Trou­ba­dour

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