Saturday 26, May 2012
Stilts Foster charms drinkers with midweek magic
WALKING into Trof bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on this particular night, you would have been forgiven for having no knowledge that a gig was about to take place, writes Liam Thorp.
The popular bar with it’s low lighting and cool, dingy décor makes for a chilled, boho boozer but doesn’t look like your typical live music venue.
So it was perhaps a surprise for many of the drinkers in the upstairs room when a tall, shaggy haired bloke with a guitar pulled up a stool and began to sing.
The man in question was Mark Foster, or Stilts Foster as he is known on stage. A singer songwriter from Scunthorpe, this was his debut solo gig.
After a low key hello, Foster set the tone with his first track ‘Vampires’, gentle chord work and a husky, tender voice immediately provided an atmosphere for people to enjoy but also to chat, drink and be merry. There was not an imposition for revelers to stop what they were doing.
This mood continued until the third tune began.
With ‘Eyes of what you wear’, Foster cast a hush over the gathered guests and a palpable sense of emotion was introduced through both the music and poignant lyrics.
The tempo was then raised with the upbeat and interestingly titled ‘Bleach blonde suicide.’ Foster explored the range of his vocal tones and upped the ante with fast paced chord work. It is testament to the artist that track-to-track the mood of the small but attentive crowd appeared to shift considerably.
The very best was saved until last, in a work befitting a singer-songwriter of much greater experience. The final track ‘Hold’ had the audience entranced. A carefully crafted and beautifully delivered song caused a nearby punter to remark ‘it sounds like he’s been doing this for years’. As clichéd as that assessment may be, it was a hard one to disagree with.
A warm applause followed and Foster reached eagerly for a well-earned pint. Nerves had emerged sporadically throughout the set but on reflection ‘Stilts Foster’ can look back on a competent and promising foray into live music and one that will have drawn no complaints from those who unexpectedly witnessed it.
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