OK, I’m going to make this short, but if you think you don’t like folk music, think again. If you think you don’t like acoustic instrumental music, think again. Fiddles, melodeons, think again.This pairing of bands could smash your prejudices into hyperspace. I knew what to expect (and like all the above), but was still totally unprepared for the live experience.
First on were Leveret, 3 chairs, 3 blokes, melodeon(s), concertina and fiddle. Tunes, all tunes, no singing, derived from the folk tradition, the music weaving and winding between the players, intricate and, apparently, unrehearsed, 3 musicians at the top of their game, knowing all the music perfectly enough as to never quite know how they might play it tonight. Feeling baroque in the harmonisations and progressions, I was lifted and immersed. 45 minutes went by in a moment. Andy Cutting and Sam Sweeney, of Blowzabella and Bellowhead respectively, demonstrated they need not the camouflage of a huge band, this smaller setting demonstrating their worth all the better.
After the raffle, always the raffle, an altogether different variation around the same concept. This time it was folk through the ears of electronica and minimalism, an even more intricate melding of instrumentation, accordion, guitar, spiky mandolin and transcendent violin. (As opposed to fiddle, believe me.) Repetitions and ricochets writhed together in salvos of notes, the mandolin almost percussive, the violin simultaneously soothing and frantic. Trance folk said a chum in the row ahead, and he was right. Or may be euphoria? On their feet rather than sitting, all 4 swayed constantly, lost in their moments, the mandolin player, Alex Vann, throwing rockstar shapes incessantly, perhaps belieing his past as drummer and guitarist in punk bands. Jane Harbour, the band leader and a composer in her own right, inscrutable throughout, bar occasional staccato 2-3-4 instructions, sawed majestically away, in a classical diva meets the hobbit ballgown. Again, 45 minutes was gone, all too soon, but, as hinted earlier, we were promised, and got, the finale of all 7 musicians together. And it shouldn’t have worked, Albinoni meets Reich, and for a moment it almost didn’t, but suddenly they locked and it was magnificent.
If @vulpes-vulpes still has his spare tickets, as advertised here recently, smash your preconceptions. Get ’em and go.
Shock, horror, some young people, and an altogether more sympathetic audience than many I have experienced here. Not quite full, perhaps a couple of hundred of, literally, entranced individuals.
It made me think..
Electricity? Who needs it?