words and pictures by Peter Nicholson.
When one of our local talents sells out the iconic Joiners at his first attempt, it has to be a gig worth attending! So I did exactly that.
Hailing from Romsey, Rob Clamp, is now busier than he’s ever been through his music career. Despite, what he describes as four gap-years, he has come back to his home city after honing his skill on his travels. He travelled extensively, but also kept playing up to four shows a week in various cities in the UK and Europe.
Rob recently returned from a trip to Sofia in Bulgaria where he was invited to complete at a European Singer Songwriter competition. I know this competition well, as I was there with another competitor a few years ago. If the talent at the competition was similar to that which I saw during my visit to Sofia, it would have been tough. This didn’t stop Rob from taking the first prize and beating all other European entries.
Rob is no stranger to winning music competitions, as in 2022 he also won Purbeck Rising, a national vocal competition. He now plans to play at the Purbeck Festival this year, as well as appearing at Wickham Festival with his full band.
When I arrived at the Joiners the atmosphere was buzzing. The wide range of ages was testament to Rob’s appeal. When the band took to the stage, they were greeted by loud cheers. Rob, clearly a little apprehensive and seemingly a little embarrassed by the reception, moved to centre stage, picked up his acoustic guitar, took a seat and the gig began with a broad smile. Rob has already developed a distinctive style, and his skill on the acoustic guitar is undeniable. His rhythmic use of the guitar body and clever use of a stomp pedal to add depth to the music is a refreshing change from the more traditional acoustic guitar style. As soon as he was a few bars in, his confidence grew, the audience responded with enthusiasm.
Rob varied the styles throughout the show and was expertly supported by a hugely talented band, some of the faces I recognised, and whom I greatly admire as musicians in their own right. Backed up by beautiful keyboard playing, an expert rhythm section and even a banjo and violin, the set was polished and well-rehearsed, while still retaining the charm, feel and joy of a spontaneous jam session with experts at their craft.
Rob and the band will be appearing again at their next headline show at Heartbreakers in Southampton on9th April (Easter Sunday) to help promote his imminent debut album which will be released in the same month. A gig that I’m already looking forward to attending.
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