As promised, here is a report of the Sheytoons show at Dublin Castle on April 24th. Sheytoons is the band led by Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser. I couldn’t attend, since I’m here in San Francisco, so Claire has joined me as a guest:
I was flattered to be asked to write something on the recent Sheytoons gig I was lucky enough to attend. Don’t think I’ve ever been a ‘guest blogger’ before! Stacey’s blog is great—I love seeing people with the same passion for theatre as me. First I thought I’d write a bit about the concert and then try to answer a few questions.
I’ve followed this great band from right before their first guest spot at Hadley’s cabaret in October. Their mix of folk and bluegrass with great vocals and beautiful lyrics really is very special. It was an exciting night, seeing them play their first real gig at Dublin Castle. The venue is in the back area of a rather dingy-looking pub in perhaps not the most glamorous area of London. But, boy did it work. The excellent support act Dharma Sunset had the packed venue ready for a great evening. It was intimate and relaxed. I’m not sure if the band or the crowd was having more fun. They played all their songs to date, and it’s great to hear how much some of them have grown. We got treated to great solos by Ramin and Hadley and then to some of their new material. The whole group is so talented—I know they can go a long way. The great relationship between band mates shows, and they put their heart and soul into everything they do with the band. It’s a special opportunity to see two of the West End’s most talented performers doing something they love, showing just how talented they are as musicians.
Sheytoons has some different faces sometimes, but they are always led by Ramin and Hadley, who do all the songwriting together, playing guitar and banjo and providing the main vocals, too. I’ll introduce the band as it was on Sunday:
Tom Deering (keyboard), Nick Pini (bass), Ruth Irons (violin), Roy Pfeffer (drums, doing a great job at very short notice), Rosie Craig (backing vocals–Rosie can currently be seen in London Road at the National Theatre).
Ramin Karimloo (vocals, guitar and banjo) – Iranian Canadian Ramin formed Sheytoons with Hadley nearly a year ago, after suggesting to a record company that of course he could write music. With best friend Hadley, it transpires that he most definitely can. He’s developed his guitar skills and learned banjo and now sounds pretty awesome on both. Ramin is a hot property in the West End right now, wearing the famous mask in Love Never Dies until September. He is so talented it’s unreal. I’d urge everyone to catch him while we’ve still got him in the West End. He is also the most genuine, down to earth, generally lovely guy I’ve ever met. He’s so good to his fans. It has always been a pleasure to support him.
Hadley Fraser (vocals, guitar) – Hadley is one of the most underrated talents in the West End. He’s been unlucky with some of his shows, but that is to change in June, when he joins the Les Mis family again as Javert. He is an incredibly talented musician, turning his hand to anything. He has a stunning voice and guitar skills which are second to none.
I’m quite impressed if I’ve not bored you silly by this point, but I’ll now try to answer some of Stacey’s questions:
How long did Sheytoons perform? How many people were in the audience? What was the male/female ratio?
They played for an hour and a quarter with approximately 150 people there. It was great to see some other West End faces and the guys’ families coming along to support them. I’d say the male/female ratio was pretty equal—surprisingly!
Did they start on time? And why was Hadley Fraser in the dark?
They started on time after an excellent support act. The lighting hasn’t come out well on the videos, but yes, Ramin is lit almost too brightly and Hadley to the side not as much.
Did you get a look at Ramin’s new tattoos? Did he show them off?
I have seen Ramin’s new tattoos. (I don’t like tattoos in general, but his are pretty cool and have great personal meaning for him.) He is very proud of them, but apart from what you could see round his t-shirt, no. He wouldn’t have ‘shown them off’ at this sort of event.
Did the band interact with fans offstage? Pose for photos, give autographs?
There was some interaction before with fans—they were chatting easily with people over a beer outside. Only a few saw them after, as most of us ran for the last tube. But yes, it seems they were as giving with their time as ever.
Were there any funny mishaps?
A few mishaps. They shot off far too fast on one song and had to restart. Then Ramin forgot to plug in his guitar at one point, which Hadley milked for all it was worth: “Take your time, Ramin, whenever you’re ready!” There is always lots of banter when they are together—they are hilarious.
Do Ramin and Hadley write all their songs together, or are some written by just one?
All the songs are joint ventures. They use the internet etc. if needed, to bounce ideas as they are both so busy. You’ll often see Ramin leave the Stage Door with a guitar. (He even took his banjo to Malaysia earlier in the month where he was performing in a concert—he’s songwriting all the time.) When their busy schedules allow, Hadley and the rest of the band are regulars in Ramin’s huge dressing room at the Adelphi for impromptu jam sessions.
Any new faces in the audience? Did you see lots of familiar faces from the Stage Door?
I did see some new faces which is always lovely, but it was also a great evening with friends, too.
Thank you for reading. Please support Sheytoons; they have an official website and are on Twitter and Facebook. I have uploaded videos of the whole set at Dublin Castle to my You Tube channel (clairetrillwood). Enjoy!
Thank you, Claire! I hope you come back for the next Sheytoons gig. I also hope other fans who were there will add to this report in the comment section. Well, even if you weren’t there, leave a comment!
Credit where credit is due: I made the screencaps in photoshop from videos posted by tnlew and steffiG79 on YouTube, with their gracious permission. Please do not post these elsewhere without credit or permission.