Saturday, 10 June 2017

Pre-Election Rave-Up

       Apologies for the delay in posting this review of last Wednesday's Nuneaton Folk Club evening. Something even bigger was going on the next day and my sleep patterns got a little disturbed. Added to which,I had to collect all of the NFC's considerable collection of Sound equipment the next morning,in readiness for Mac Awe On Tour's appearance at the CAMRA Beer Festival on June 16th. Of which,more later. 
     Anyway. It was another simply stunning night upstairs at The Crown on June 7th. All superbly masterminded and driven from the desk of Sound man Dave Smart.  Despite foul weather all day, and with many familiar faces missing,it was again,standing room only. We were treated to outstanding entertainment from all who took to the stage.
     Nunc kicked us off, with a new segue of CSNY's  "Find The Cost of Freedom " into Neil Young's angry homage to the slaughter of innocents at Kent State University, "Ohio." They followed that with  "Angel from Montgomery" and concluded with "Bring It On Home To Me."  Gratifying to hear the audience singing along with these three so enthusiastically.
     Maria Barham followed, showcasing three typically brilliant songs from her excellent repertoire. Including a particularly fine rendition of "Sirens." Maria is the Guest at Bedworth Folk Club next week-another opportunity to catch up with a gifted performer who gives unstinting support to Coventry and  Warwickshire Folk venues. 
      Andrew Buckley,making the short trip over the County Line from Leicestershire  then made a very capable and assured debut. He entertained us with three songs from his latest album, "Mainly Blue."  Expertly sung and played. 
Andrew Buckley

       From a new friend then, we moved on to two old ones, as Malc Gurnham and Gill Gilsenan, hosts at Bedworth Folk Club did an accomplished spot  ( I had to get a towel to mop it up).   Their openers  included reference to the very recent loss of Vin Garbutt and they finished off with that nagging earworm "Down By The Dockyard Wall."  This is an adaptation of  "Watch and Chain" with different words,originating from Shep Woolley. The audience  belted that one out with real vigour.
Malc and Gill
           More debutees,then. Sam Shemmell and Jesse Desai followed. Not quite as planned, for Sam very generously left the stage after two numbers, and invited Jesse to borrow a guitar and give us a third tune, solo.
Jesse Desai 
      Sam's powerful, passionate vocals won the Crown faithful over immediately, and Jesse's confident performance also drew warm applause from them. We'll certainly invite Sam,Jesse and Andrew back.
Sam Shemmell
          Sam's spot was the perfect platform from which to launch the first of two rousing,entertaining sets from the thoroughly exemplary Duncan McFarlane and Anne Brivonese. Duncan's percussive guitar work and strident vocals, counterpointed well with Anne's superb fiddle playing and accompanying vocals. They took us to the interval with a rapid set of songs from their impressive catalogue of traditional and self-penned work. 
Anne and Dunc at work
         After the interval,the raffle and two more songs from Nunc, Anne and Duncan stepped back up again and picked up where they had left off,their energy seemingly unabated. . They treated us to the romping "Bed of Straw" and their own version of " A-Begging I will Go," The poignant "Circle For Danny," and the heartwarming "Turn The Bones Around." Capped off with a storming encore-the hilarious finale-"Drinking Song." All introduced and linked by Duncan's very personable and cheerful banter. 
        Now I've seen this duo before,and I have the good fortune to own several of their albums. Their CD's are wonderfully produced and expertly mixed-but good as they are,they do not fully reproduce the quality of Anne and Duncan "Live." I knew they'd be good, and the NFC audience adored them. If anyone gets a chance to see them locally-I cannot recommend them highly enough. You'll tap your feet,sing along and come home feeling thoroughly positive.