Thanks a bunch Canada, for Celine Dion and environment-boning Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Fortunately some Canadians have a sense of decency, and tour the world trying to make amends by entertaining us all. Tonight, I am at Soup Kitchen to see some of those good people.

I’ve never heard of Rich Aucoin, so I don’t know what to expect – and boy am I surprised. Before the show, he gathers the audience close to the stage. Closer… closer… closer, until we are all occupying “prime dancefloor real estate”. When he introduces himself as a man who likes to “play music over old films”, then proceeds to play a truly awful plinky piano parody of the music to Jurassic Park along to an iconic moment from the film, I laugh out loud, but I really don’t know what to expect.

However, the show takes off from here, and although at first I must admit to cringing at the things he occasionally asks the audience to do (put your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you, kneel down on the floor etc), I soon find myself unable to resist getting involved. It becomes a genuinely rousing, stirring experience for the part of me that had almost forgotten what it felt like to get up on a Saturday morning and race downstairs to watch cartoons and play with my brothers.

I’m drawn in to repeating the mantra-like choruses which Aucoin introduces before most of his songs and bouncing along with the rest of the audience. The music, though, is just one part of the show, as Aucoin throws in an mix of props and video cues, including a Christmassy visuals and a New-Year-style countdown complete with giant party poppers and my personal highlight: a brightly coloured “parachute” about fifteen foot across which becomes an impromptu dance tent, underneath which Aucoin and the rest of us boogie away for a few choruses, before promising in song that “We won’t leave it all in our heads”.

This show is basically just brilliant. It’s hugely life-affirming, uncommonly interactive and totally massively awesome. Aucoin describes it as “an 8 year-old’s birthday party with booze” and it’s one of the most unique gigs I’ve ever been to. I will be in touch for the Zip file of music he offered to everyone in the audience, although I don’t think it will quite be the same without the man himself.

I have a great deal of anticipation for the main event of the evening. Hey Rosetta’s album ‘Into Your Lungs’ was one of the first things I reviewed for Silent Radio and I loved it. Although I haven’t yet come to love new album Seeds in the same way, it’s still pretty darn good. Tonight, many of the songs from Seeds actually sound better in the flesh than they do on record, despite the difficulties of mixing in a small, reflective brick-walled room like this, especially for a band with the amount of dynamic range that Hey Rosetta employ.

I would have hoped that more people would have been turned on to this excellent band since their first trip to the UK, when I travelled down to London to catch one of their shows at the Queen of Hoxton around this time in 2009. Singer songwriter Tim told me they got a lukewarm reception in Brighton this time round too and I think that’s a massive shame (and undeserved).

The closest I can come to a comparison for Hey Rosetta is to say that their musicality, songwriting and understanding of the anatomy of a tune and their sheer variety of arrangements, dynamics, style and mood gives them the potential (potential, mind) to be in the same league as Nick Cave &the Bad Seeds, Radiohead or Blur – although they don’t really sound like any of them.

In some ways their newer material sounds more straight-up (alt-)rock and a bit more homogeneous and understated than their previous album, but with more subtlety, maturity and showcasing greater musical understanding and a more minimal approach to songwriting as a band. It seems that with the new songs tonight, as with the material from Seeds, Hey Rosetta are settling on a sound which best represents them, rather than the more diverse and balls-out material from In To Your Lungs.

At the half way point of the gig, a slightly remixed intro announces Red Heart – it’s twisted, shifted and swung. It shows the ongoing work that bands have to do in the rehearsal room to maintain the freshness of their work, to maintain the emotional connection with the songs – which is absolutely essential to their ability to communicate that emotion to the audience. Red Heart lights the touch paper for an audience which up to this point had only been simmering. It’s all uphill from here-on out and all of Soup Kitchen is jumping for the second time tonight; Hey Rosetta work really hard and continue to lift the audience through the second half of the set.

It’s hard to communicate the feeling that comes with a night like this: rousing, enervating, emotional and involving – tapping in to something personal, with the music acting as a conduit to one’s deepest feelings.

To be dragged out of my shell, to be filled up till it wells, lifted up and shifted up and connected to you, the truth; my soul; the whole.

It was fun.

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.