Barbarella Hellacopter w/Arjun Bhishma & Adam James Harper @ The Eagle Inn
Making his debut appearance in support of Americana duo Barbarella Hellacopter, Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter Adam James Harper travelled over the Pennines to The Eagle Inn, a charming, traditional pub and intimate music venue that’s brimming with character.
I wouldn’t have guessed it was Harper’s first ever live performance, as he sang and played acoustic guitar with remarkable poise and conviction, drawing us all in to his stripped-back, lyrical, melancholic verses.
The informal set included original tracks Vine, Darling I Need You, Horse, Let Her Go/Never Won A Woman Back, and the amusingly-titled Leonard Cohen Said So, So Shut Up! There was also an introspective cover of Stand By Me that fitted Harper’s brooding vocal style to a tee.
Continuing the evening’s unplugged showcase, Arjun Bhishma, lead singer and guitarist of Manchester-based stoner-rock band Gorilla Riot, treated us to a moving outpouring of eloquently-crafted songs.
His delivery was so captivating that you could have heard a pin drop in the room, as Bhishma effortlessly commanded everybody’s attention with his rich tone and emotional connection. It’s not often that a performance can move me to tears, but this one did and for all the right reasons. Accompanying him on stage for part of the set was singer Luci Vernon and the pair harmonized so sweetly together, it was simply beautiful.
Playing their first headline show and also making their first appearance with a full band, Barbarella Hellacopter brought an authentic Americana flavour to Salford.
The group, consisting of Sarah-Jane Pearson on vocals, Liam Henry on vocals and guitar, Arjun Bhishma on bass, Jordan Pryce on drums and Tony Gilfellon on guitar, sounded so natural that nobody would have believed this was their first ever live performance together - and over a year since the singers last played as a duo, at The Bluebird Café in Nashville!
Pearson and Henry’s vocals complemented each other so perfectly that, combined with their exceptional skill for storytelling through song and well-composed music, Barbarella Hellacopter have the real potential to bring Americana to a whole new audience in the UK. (They also have the best band name I’ve come across in quite some time!)
I left The Eagle Inn feeling like I’d just witnessed something very special indeed... A group of incredibly talented young musicians who I was fortunate enough to see perform in such a relaxed setting. If there’s any justice in this world, it won’t be long before Barbarella Hellacopter and their friends are soaring to uncharted heights.