REVIEW: Ashcroft Acoustic Club at Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

Andrew Foster. Picture by Aaron Bennett
Andrew Foster. Picture by Aaron Bennett
Jerry Williams. Picture by Shotbyphox

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After the sad demise of Southsea’s much-loved Cellars it was a pleasant surprise to see that its old manager Steve Pitt had joined forces with the Ashcroft to resurrect the popular acoustic night.

What better artist to launch the series than the underrated Andrew Foster? In fact, we were lucky enough to get two sets as illness sadly struck Chris Ricketts from the bill.

Submariner’s James Herrity opened proceedings with a set which veered from gently acoustic to rousing barnstomers – all in the space of just six well-crafted songs. The standout was Shame from a forthcoming solo EP.

Foster’s first set combined old favourites; Golden Hour, new material; the lilting Parachutes which is definitely ‘not a love song’ and the trippy The Garden, pushing the acoustic sound into more psychedelic areas to stunning effect.

A short break allowed the reverently hushed, almost sell-out crowd chance to fill up on crisps and ale before Foster bounded back onto the stage and showed yet again why he deserves a bigger audience. Tracks like Memory Maze and Heartbeats from the Science & Magic album were augmented with new songs like the evocative Arcades And Crashing Waves.

His on-stage persona is charming and the stories behind the songs are told with a twinkle in the eye and a nice line in self deprecation.

The bar has been set high after this first show but tickets for the next with Bemis headlining are selling fast.