Categorized | Live Reviews

Darren Hayman, Vortex Jazz Club, London (January 17, 2014)

Posted on 20 January 2014 by Patricia Turk

Darren Hayman, formerly of 1990s indie band Hefner and now enjoying a seemingly never ending purple patch as a solo performer, is deep into his series of monthly ‘occupation’ gigs at the east London based Vortex Jazz club. Each sees him tackle a different theme or area of his back catalogue and along with special guests have the aim of creating, intimate, one-off gigs.

Darren Hayman (second from left) and band

Darren Hayman (second from left) and band

This month’s focus, over Thursday and Friday (January 16 and 17), was his January Songs project, in which Hayman wrote, recorded and released a song a day throughout January 2011. It is a project close to our hearts at Neonfiller and we timed our attendance for the Friday show to coincide with the performance of the track Arthur the Dog, the real life tale of the disappearance and recovery in the Somerset countryside of our editor Joe Lepper’s dog.

In documenting the mystery of what Arthur did during six cold nights away from home, plus the search for him involving dozens of local people, Hayman perfectly captured the joys and occasional fears of pet-owning life and the warmth of community spirit.

With his easy going and funny interaction with the audience the night was full of such anecdotes about about how and why each track was written, offering a fascinating insight into the creative process that gigs rarely offer. It was also refreshing to hear such honesty as he concedes that just because he wrote all the songs, it doesn’t mean he thinks they are all good. They do clearly all have merit though, as the songs played on the night skipped across genres and themes, including the spoken word track The Return and a subdued English call to arms for library goers in Shh.

With this performance, involving a backing band including Ian Button (Papernut Cambridge and Rotifer), it was clear Hayman revelled in the liberty the project offered him to indulge in whims and follow lesser-travelled topics through to fruition. And all the songs are laced through with irony and honesty, which I love.

I particularly liked I Want To Be A Volunteer about the pleasure he gets from his weekly, voluntary work on a local steam railway (‘I want to be tired and rewarded, I want to have useful working hands’), Baby, Be Good To Me, and It’s No Different For Girls, sung with Valentine Leys who joined him onstage.

He finished by leading the room in a rousing singalong of ‘We’re Tired Of Getting Dicked Around’ – and let’s face it, who isn’t? An ironically timeless message to end a set about a project all about time limits.

By Patricia Turk


Leave a Reply

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here