Singing a Different Song was a cosy affair. Jonathan Wood and Friends, a trio of amiable musicians, greeted the majority of their small audience personally as they entered, giving the concert the feel of a welcome reunion, an event that could just as easily have taken place in the comfort of a living room or around a warm campfire.
Unfortunately though, there were no roasted marshmallows or fanciful ghost stories to distract from the music at this gathering. Wood writes passable piano and guitar-based ballads with lyrics that might be rousing if delivered by, say, Bruce Springsteen or Win Butler, but that his own middle register vocals didn't quite push home. 'Put another cigarette in your mouth and don't say a word'; 'This used to be a big land, before they made the earth kneel to the city lights'; all big lines that needed a bigger voice.
Wood's bandmates were Neil Simpson and Michael Freudenberg, on the accordion and cello respectively. Their contributions were for the most part minimal, both during and between songs, but they nonetheless muddied Wood's arrangements and begged the question: why was anyone but Wood, the songwriter and principal talent of the group, even on stage? Wood is a prolific songwriter and he and his bandmates were certainly affable, but Singing a Different Song left a lot to be desired once they were through with the pleasantries.