This is a first for me… For various reasons (mainly tiredness) I only stayed at this one for the first half of the gig. I’m sitting here typing when the second half is probably still going on!
This evening’s musical pleasures necessitated a visit to a place I’ve been wanting to see for months now. The Tipsy Pig is a craft ale bar in Romsey. It follows the ethos of the micropub movement that has produced lots of interesting places to drink in Southampton. The Pig is different in that instead of setting up a craft ale bar in a disused shop, they chose to breathe new life to an old pub. It’s a light, airy building with high ceilings and minimal furniture. Minimal furniture but maximum beer. Six handpumps, six (or was it eight) taps for keg and a menu of bottled beers, artisan spirits and a good selection of wines.
I arrived at 7:30, on my way home from work, after a dubious Subway at a petrol station on the outskirts of Romsey. (The guy serving was new and it was his first solo shift. I had to point out where everything was. Interesting to say the least… I don’t know what I had in my sub, but it wasn’t the teriyaki chicken I asked for… Not unpleasant, though, and I’m not dead yet…)
Walking up to the bar, the very attentive and knowledgeable staff (also rather beardy, apart from the female one) suggested a couple of beers that fitted my criteria of ‘around 4%’ and gave me tasters of several choices. With this amount of choice, I decided to stick to halves so I could try a little more before I headed off. The first was a cloudy Belgian style keg beer by Vibrant Forest, Zuur Rhubarb. It was only 3.5% and was, as the name suggests, a sour rhubarb flavoured beer. Definitely the thing to cleanse the palate from my Subway experience earlier. It was enjoyable, but I think halves are the size in which to drink it.
Lisa Marie Glover, a solo singer / guitarist hailing from Leeds, took the stage and began her first set. In all honesty, the sound was far from good at the end of the bar at which I was perched. I gradually made my way closer to the stage, and the acoustics of the building became more forgiving and the sound quality was rather good the closer I got to the PA.
Lisa has a bluesy, almost trad-jazz infused style and has a propensity to play well-placed walking bass riffs on her acoustic guitar, very much reminiscent of The Kinks’ Sunday Afternoon.
The atmosphere was very casual – people out for a drink with some background music. Despite this, there was a good level of applause after each song, which as the evening progressed, grew considerably.
Lisa’s smooth, silky vocals soothed the trials and tribulations of the working day away with a cover of The Beatles’ Lady Madonna.
It was time for another half. This time, the recommended tipple was White Tips IPA from Siren Craft Brew. This was another keg beer and at 4.5% was a nice change from a lot of craft beers that seek to push the boundaries of percentage far beyond the session beer level. It had a rounded hoppy flavour with a dry bite to the finish. Elements of citrus without it being overpowering. If I was here for a session, I’d have had another.
Throughout the purchasing of beverage, a liquid blend of vocals and guitar exuded from the stage. Lisa played a well-balanced mix of covers and self-penned songs. A rendition of Dream A Little Dream Of Me was followed by an original composition about spiders. She doesn’t like spiders. Nor do I. The song includes putting them in a pint glass. I can’t get that close! If Lisa fancies a little contract work eradicating the eight-legged-bastards from my house, I’m more than happy to arrange it!
Now it’s a song that always wakes an audience up, whoever plays it, and tonight was no different. Jolene. Not as much audience participation at the Tipsy Pig, but this was the interim between the early shift and the night shift. Lisa sang Jolene with a real heartfelt tenderness that is definitely lacking in the original, and also in most covers that seek to emulate the original.
My final half of the evening was a 4.6% single hop offering from the selection on handpump by Animal Brewing Co. Hop Hound uses only Citra hops and is everything a summer ale should be. On the first sip, you are transported to the dappled shade of a tree beside a river, or at least a sunny beer garden. The right balance of bitter and a mellow sweetness. Definitely a quaffing beer.
The walking basslines and the easy listening blues-jazz-folk continued with a country-tinged cover of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love which brought the first set to a close. After a good chat with Lisa, I made my way home, only to get my second wind on walking through the door. Oh well! Blog time (with a can of Hobgoblin Gold)!
When I entered the Tipsy Pig this evening, the bar had a handful of people, all enjoying a quick jar on the way home from work. When I left, it was a busy town pub with the evening shift in full swing. I wholeheartedly recommend visiting if you’re in the area, and if you see a lady by the name of Lisa Marie Glover advertised anywhere, I’d also suggest you pay her a visit.
Right. I’ll see how I go writing last week’s blog now… Funfun! Keep rockin!