On his quest to take over the living rooms of Europe, British singer Richard Maule and his guitar stopped by think.dk.
A couple of dozen strangers huddle together in a Copenhagen loft whose raison d’être is to save the world, quietly singing ‘We are all one and the same thing’. On the other side of the large windows of think.dk, snowflakes are peacefully dancing over a Copenhagen evening so cold that it makes British singer Richard Maule long for UK weather.
Arriving at think.dk for the second time feels an elevator ride short of arriving home: kick off shoes, hang coat, hug hello, plug in phone. I’m here early, so I decide to make myself a ginger tea and cozy up by the radiator, under the candles and wine glasses that line the window sill and slow down time.
Soon enough, the sound of chatter and clinking glasses fills the room. Soft music is playing in the background and we can hear Richard tuning his guitar in the room next door.
Our host Anja dims the pink and blue lights and welcomes us to yet another intimate gig. Backstage routine becomes a shared experience when Richard briefly kneels down in front of the audience to close his eyes for a moment before he starts playing. As soon as he breaks into song, everyone’s swooning.
His bluesy sound immediately compels all conversation leftovers to take a backseat to the well-rounded, emotionally delivered songs. Trying to follow his hands on the guitar is dizzying to say the least, but it’s the range of his voice that stays with me: effortlessly soulful and smooth, with breathtaking bursts of howling followed by delicate crooning.
His bluesy sound immediately compels all conversation leftovers to take a backseat to the well-rounded, emotionally delivered songs.
He asks us to be his band for the evening and we shyly oblige, starting out by harmonizing for For you. Little do we know that by the end of the evening we’ll be singing along with our eyes closed, while clicking our fingers and clapping – all at the same time. But it’s less of a surprise when we learn that Richard went by Mr. Maule among high school students up until a few months ago, when he decided to give music a full-time chance and embark on a home concert tour. Sorry kids, but thankfully he belongs to the world’s living rooms now.
Halfway through the otherwise melancholic set, Richard throws in Lift me up, the obligatory mom-I-promise-I-am-not-always-sad song and we uuu and aaa along.
To keep the happy train going, the self-proclaimed beach baby covers a stripped-down version of Jimi Jamison’s I’m Always Here, which has everyone in the room guessing what this blast from the past might be. We all burst into laughter when he reveals that we just listened to the Baywatch theme song.
A high point of the gig is Richard’s cover of No Diggity. The audience is singing along and clicking their fingers unprompted by now. There’s mouth trumpets and improvised lyrics and is that the guitar making drum noises? It’s a partaaay!
Or so we think until our musical train passes straight through Happy Town and heads into the Motown influences that our conductor has been revisiting often lately.
And it’s beautifully heartbreaking in a way that leaves everyone in the audience staring into a distance that’s calculated in years rather than kilometers.
Repetition is a central element of Richard’s carefully crafted home concert set and by the end of each song I find myself transported into an oddly familiar place without remembering how I got there. One of these instances happens with How you see me. Written in Australia to soothe long distance relationship blues, the song captures the way we see the world and each other through the eyes of love. And it’s beautifully heartbreaking in a way that leaves everyone in the audience staring into a distance that’s calculated in years rather than kilometers.
We part ways with the timely Be the change, our musical farewell serving as a reminder that we are all one and the same thing.
When all is said and done, I leave the loft lighter and with a distorted sense of time. Maybe the snowfall is to blame. Or maybe it’s Richard’s voice.
You can book Richard Maule to play in your own living room.
The photos were kindly provided by think.dk volunteer Laine Medniece.