Gig Review – Midlake at Halifax Minster

Midlake 3 v3

Sorry. I’m a bit late with this. The gig was last Friday evening, and I was supposed to write it up and post within 24hrs. But first of all I had a bit of a cider hangover (thanks Bruv, Gordon & Ali), which took out Saturday. Then I ended up working all the way up on the Cumbrian coast on Sunday (took me so long to get back I missed the World Cup Final). And finally I got an email from Michael Hann on Monday morning saying that The Graun wouldn’t be using the review even if I sent it! So that kinda took away any sense of urgency I might have had.

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Yo Llama! Yotanka! Edinburgh Festival Social Review Mash-up.

The Bow Bar retains its poise despite the gurning

The Bow Bar retains its poise despite the gurning

The Bow Bar is turning into a veritable honey trap for Spillers of late. Last month’s victim was Tatanka Yotanka who braved the throngs for a couple of swift pints prior to Barb Jungr at the Queen’s Hall, while I bolted for the door just in time to see Coriolanus at The Playhouse. Conversation ran the full spectrum from what ails to Grauniad, to the art of cabinetmaking and the joys of London life. Anyway, here is our round up of some of what we saw in Edinburgh 2013.

The Beijing People’s Art Theatre had a unique take on staging Shakespeare, employing TWO heavy metal bands (Miserable Faith and Suffering, death metal but turned down from 11 on this occasion)  in their production of Coriolanus. I had studied the play for the Irish equivalent of the A levels, and it seemed an odd choice for the Chinese Ministry of Culture to get involved in. what the implications of political power being exerted from the bottom up, and there is a telling comment about the difficulty in reasserting power once it has been ceded to the people. An entertaining evening, somewhat tempered by a lack of any menace in a 100 strong chorus.

The Summerhall venue had a terrifically varied programme this year. Song Noir by Pumajaw  brought a Lynchian approach to cabaret from Pinkie McClure and John Wills (ex-Loop), the highlight was an inspired take on the Peter Gunn theme with Maclure taking Mancini’s riff while Wells conducts a mash-up of what could be Dazed & Confused era Jimmy Page v The Prodigy. One of sport’s great rivalries forms the backdrop to Jamie Wood’s Beating McEnroe, an entertaining and immersive story of bitter defeat as tasted by his six year-old self. The yin and yang of Wood’s battles with his older brother are projected – sometimes literally – onto the epic Borg/McEnroe clash. A dollop of slapstick and the help of some only too willing members of the audience make for a startlingly bonkers finale with loss avenged in Wood’s inimitable hands-on fashion.

Pippa Bailey’s Biding Time (Remix) is a beguiling multi-media exploration of the battle between art and commerce. First performed in 1987, it has been revived and remixed in a collaboration with Louise Quinn (and A Band Called Quinn), film-maker Uisdean Murray and Grid Iron’s Ben Harrison and benefits enormously from advances in technology over the last quarter of a century. Music and sound production are delivered to the audience via silent disco headphones, making the experience unworldly yet hyper-real. Louise Quinn’s songs and performance are strong in their own right and the production benefits from the story’s parallels with her surreal experiences in the music industry. I understand that this production will be touring next year, so it may be coming your way.

Off to the Scottish National Gallery on Princes Street where you can still catch the Peter Doig exhibition until the 3rd of November.  Doig has been fairly and squarely reclaimed  for Scotland on the basis of being born and resident in Edinburgh until the age of three but in truth he’s been elsewhere for most of his life; Trinidad and Canada  before art school in London and then retracing his steps back to Trinidad, painting all the while.  The exhibition title ‘No Foreign Lands’ reflects that journey and, coming as it does from fellow Auld Reekian (“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only…”) Robert Louis Stevenson, it bolsters the Scottish connection.

The show is of works from the last ten years in Trinidad.  Doig works a lot from photographs of scenes that resonate with him so there are quite often various versions of, or excerpts from the same subject and this show is a chance to see a few pairings of these which is a bonus.  Doig is a figurative, painterly painter who revels both in the medium and the depth of art history at his disposal, happy to quote at will from a range of other artists.  If you have even the most cursory knowledge of painting over the last century and a bit you’ll soon have at least half a dozen names in your head as points of reference and the notes by the paintings are not shy of listing them either.  Mine were Gaugin, Rothko, Bacon, Manet, Caulfield, Hopper and Jasper Johns for starters. This isn’t to suggest that the work is simply derivative, a better analogy would be with sampling in music; a painterly riff here, a structural backbeat there, a high class guest on backing vocals.

An enjoyable show and certainly recommended if you can get there in the next eight weeks. Many large scale pieces which range from decoratively atmospheric to deeply engaging.  A room of hand painted posters for film shows from which you can trace the graphic tendencies of some of the larger stuff, plenty of his working out in the form of sketches and photographs.  It may be his method of working from an already captured image but the most moving of these works have that veiled quality of a moment of dreamtime, the kind of sepia distance in which you feel you are reaching back to engage with something already lost to you.

Barb Jungr at Queens Hall was a night approaching perfection.  She’s been touring her ‘Stockport to Memphis’ album set for much of this year and I’ve caught it in various smaller venues.  Here we and accompanist Simon Wallace were blessed with a fabulous grand piano, a beautiful acoustic and Barb singing with the freedom and inspiration that comes from being on top of your game.  One of those nights where audience and performer conspire to make the silences as important and moving as the songs. Here’s Barb talking about Stockport to Memphis.

Tatanka’s reason for being in Edinburgh this year in particular was to support the young folk from Shatter-point Theatre who were breaking their Fringe duck and presented eight nights of improvised comedy under the name of A League of Ordinary Gentlemen – What Happens Next? A well tested format of building an hour long show from audience suggestions was given added momentum by youthful vigour, irreverence and liberal silliness.  Highlights included the pirates from Jersey chancing on the land of the Beyoncés, captured here in glorious Dimmovision by TYTV.

That concludes the report from the Edinburgh jury. Join us next year for some art, larks and of course beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Numbers: let’s be Social about this.

DsD Social

1: sunny afternoon (much to the relief of the host).
2: invitees who sent their apologies for absence.
3: barbeques lit at once to keep this lot fed.
4: RRers in attendance.
5: long-suffering spouses / other adults who put up with the motley crew you see here.
6: empty wine bottles in the recycle bin this morning (don’t even ask about beer bottles!).
7: vegetable kebabs left uneaten at the end of the day (everything else got wolfed).
8: kids running free round the DsD garden.
9: hours the event lasted before the last of us crashed out.

My thanks to saneshane, DaddyPig, gordonimmel and their families for the wonderful time I had – I dunno about anyone else …
Therefore, huge apologies if my vigilance to the cooking detail to mean I was a less-than-attentive host to our guests.
And my even huger apologies (as well as my undying love and admiration) to DsMam for the unflappable way in which she dealt with an invasion three times bigger than she was expecting – my fault entirely.

There was just one detail missing: we failed to exchange the contractual-obligation CD-Rs necessary for the event to be granted fully fledged RR Social status. *** That doesn’t mean there was no music: oh no no no. Here’s one from an album played on the day that Shane and I have discussed several times over the years. ***

But I digress – I humbly submit to the committee that there were sufficient alternative goods and chattels changing hands for official Social standing to be approved. Can we vote? Let me count the hands . . . . .

When Llama met Aba: Mini-social in Auld Reekie

Abahachi appears staggered that llamas can talk

Abahachi appears staggered that llamas can talk

It happened over a month ago. Abahachi was in Edinburgh to simultaneously prevent the decline of modern civilization and uphold standards in the field of understanding ancient ones. You guessed it, he was putting staff and lay about students through the mincer as external examiner. Who needs Michael Gove – although the Prof did lead me to believe that Persia may not be his chosen subject.

Now this is all very thirsty work, so the Prof, having previously been thwarted in attempts to find the beer, saw fit to engage the services of a specialist. Nobody in their right mind ever walks past the Bow Bar on Victoria Street and IMHO it is just as much a cradle of civilization as the Persian plateau: no TV, no piped music, no hen/stag parties – just beer and whisky.

Strong beer merged seamlessly with strong opinions on everything from a shared affinity for Deutschland to Nile Rodgers, and the art of hot & cold smoking. The cultural summit was sealed with a communique confirming Giorgio Moroder as our favourite track on Random Access Memories and the exchange of gifts – Karl Bartos CD for the Prof, nice bottle of home brewed beer  for the Llama.

Nice.

 

Scottish Mini Social?

I’m going to be in Edinburgh at the beginning of June – unfortunately only during the week rather than at the weekend – and was wondering whether anyone was likely to be free for a quick drink on the evening of Tuesday 4th or Wednesday 5th June (nothing too heavy, as I’ll have to be serious and academic the next day). Obviously the main reason for asking is that I have hitherto failed to find any decent beer there, and hence was hoping that some local knowledge might help…

I heart Peter Doig

1990-91 White Canoe

1990-91 White Canoe

I saw a mention of a forthcoming Peter Doig exhibition in the Grauniad last year, and now finally it’s been announced – August 3 to November 3 at the Scottish National Gallery. I’m a huge fan and will certainly be visiting Edinburgh to see the show, so I’m wondering whether any RRers will be going too, and whether we can get a Social organised. Indicate your interest in the comments!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/apr/29/peter-doig-exhibition-national-gallery-scotland

Fancy an outing to the Half Moon in Putney?

Half Moon ad

I’ve already got my ticket for this – it was only £13! – and I was thinking it would be really great if some of you others could come too! It’s a Thursday, so not very good for a social, but we could have a drink beforehand at least.

Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter in the Americana mould – you may know him from tfd afasarae You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. Danny Thompson is a bass player best known (to me) for his work with Richard Thompson (no relation) and the Pentangle; but he’s played with loads of other people as well, and he plays in many styles. Darrell and Danny made a live album a while ago, and here are a couple of tracks to show you the sort of thing.

02 It’s The Whiskey that Eases the P

06 You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

So, on the assumption that the noise they’ll make will be similar to that…here’s where you can book!

http://www.halfmoon.co.uk/

May Mini-Social Gig, anyone?

I finally got an email from WeGotTickets that made me sit up and pay attention. Southern Gothic murder balladeers The Handsome Family are coming over for a short UK tour in May, and three – yes, THREE – of the dates are easy commutes for me. Can I have a quick shout if you’re interested, please, and with a preference for which venue and date?

Manchester @ The Ruby Lounge – Friday 17th May
Leeds Brudenell Social Club – Wednesday 22nd May
Hebden Bridge Trades Club – Saturday 25th May

Tickets are in the ten to fifteen quid price range, and if we choose either of the weekend dates, I’m considering combining it with hosting a daytime Social on the Saturday.

I don’t know The Ruby Lounge, but HB Trades Club isn’t a big venue, and the guy at The Brud told me he expects this to sell out quite quickly there, so if you can feed your pigeon some go-go juice before you send back your replies attached to its leg pouch, I’d appreciate it.

The Spill Awards 2012

Why haven’t I been nominated for a Spill Award this year?

Okay, I’m going to interpret two “sorry too busy” and one “it wouldn’t be the same without you” comments as a ringing endorsement of my stewardship of the annual Spill Awards, and put my mind to thinking of a way to top last year’s live blog of the award ceremony. I suppose we could do it on Twitter… If anyone has any thoughts, let me know; meanwhile, it’s time to open nominations.  Here’s how it works… Continue reading

Once Upon A Time ……..

Or, Long Ago And Far Away, or even Such was the tale, Socrates, which Critias heard from Solon...

Anyway, songs that tell stories or which are some way inspired by myths and legends. These are my contribution to the lovely West Country Social that was held last weekend Chez Abahachi.

I think that most people should be able to work out who is playing what, but let us treat it as a small game, ‘Spill points available, for getting all the artists and tracks right. I shall exempt the opening and closing selections.

Once Upon A Time In The West

L to R: Mnemonic, DarceysDad, BethNoir, CaroleBristol, Zalamanda, TreeFrogDemon (with cider). Not in picture: Abahachi, Mrs Abahachi, TinCanMan and Mrs TinCanMan

Since I entirely failed to get my Social Playlist onto either a cd or a memory stick, I’ve put it into Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7mal4t39af6ls3n/wfEiz9yuKC. Unfortunately that insists on putting everything into alphabetical order, so I’m not sure if this is going to come out right, but here’s the write-up to give you the proper running order… N.B. Edited since first posted, as I suddenly realised that I’d forgotten one track; apologies to anyone who’d already downloaded it. Continue reading

West Country Social Update

A couple of minor points in preparation for Saturday’s West Country extravaganza… The scheduled closure of the A371 has been postponed until January, so getting here (whether by road from Bristol or by train) will be a bit easier. The chosen theme for CD compilations is “Once Upon A Time”. Because of technical issues of various kinds, at least a couple of people (DarceysDad and me) are unlikely to be able to produce actual cds, so it would be good if everyone could bring along a memory stick instead to download playlists. I think that’s everything; get in touch (email, or comments here) if I’ve forgotten anything important. Full report and pictures will appear here in due course.

Vote NOW for your favourite steenbeck cake – and eat it at the West Country Social!

1 Banana, lime and coconut bread

2 Strawberry tart with white chocolate and hazelnut crust

3 Crazy-paved gooey chocolate brownies

I thought it would be a good idea to have one of steenbeck’s cakes from Out Of The Ordinary at the Social (baked by me), and DarceysDad has provided a list of three favourites for you to vote for. Please only vote if you intend to attend the Social; and don’t vote if you’re coming but don’t intend to eat cake.

steenbeck’s blog has a keyword search function, so you can look up the recipes if you need more info before voting.

West Country Social, 15th September

At the edge of the Vale of Camelot, with a fine view across to King Arthur’s original seat at Cadbury Castle, lies the little market town of Castle Cary, perhaps best known as the main railway station for the Glastonbury Festival. It is here, on Saturday 15th September, that stalwarts of Readers Recommend and the ‘Spill will be gathering for the first West Country Social, to partake of cider and other hospitality at the Abahachi homestead. The festivities will start some time around midday, and will continue until everyone goes home.

You are all heartily invited to come along. I don’t want to put all my details onto the web, and equally I would like to have a rough idea of who’s likely to turn up, so please write to me (abahachi[at]hotmail.co.uk) to let me know if and when you’ll be coming and to give some idea of preferred tipple and dietary preferences; I’ll send some directions in return, and adjust the menu accordingly.

It’s traditional, I believe, for people to put together a compilation cd for the occasion. In the light of comments below, I think we’ve got a couple of viable options, so here’s a poll…

C’Mon … it’s LOW, and it’s not sold out, ffs!!

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Live Music in Halifax since 2005 : www.doghouseuk.com
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NEXT Friday July 13th at Halifax Minster
LOW + The Steals

Advance tickets £19.50 + booking fee : Buy Tickets Online HERE
 
…: PAY ON THE ON THE NIGHT ON THE DOOR AVAILABLE :…

LOW

LOW will be playing the beautiful Halifax Minster, a 12th Century building steeped in history and a quite winderful venue. The Minster will be candlelit for the evening and there will also be a bar serving real ale, beers, wines and soft drinks. Its a true gem and all who have played there, and the majority who have seen performaces in it are really blown away with the building, its acoustics and the welcome they are given.C’mon is the shortest title of any Low album, which seems fitting, as it also ranks among the most succinct and straightforward entries in their variegated discography. Singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk has even perfected the “elevator pitch” for C’mon: “Recorded in an old church in Duluth, MN and mixed in an apartment in Hollywood, CA.” But that brief synopsis hides universes. To get to the heart of this album, we must delve deeper into both halves of the creative journey of C’mon.
 
Comprised of new material written on and off the road, the ten-song set was recorded in a former Catholic church, aka Sacred Heart Studio (where the band previously crafted 2002’s Trust). Sparhawk says Low deliberately seeks out circumstances that will generate challenges and happy accidents, breaking them out of established patterns. “We like to work in situations where there’s a character, whether that’s the time period or who we’re working with. A lot of times, the space can set that tone.”
 
The Steals

“Mysterious, haunting, heart-breaking and life-affirming, listening to northern English band The Steals is like hearing something for the first time which you just know, instinctively, is going to become a part of your life for years to come….. This is a breathtakingly brilliant album” ….(Phil McMullen) TERRASCOPE
 
“Static Kingdom is an astonishing record” ….[SIDEWAYS THROUGH SOUND]
 
“Heavenly, Wild, Lonliness on CD” …BLOOM
 
“Static Kingdom” is a beautiful album, informed by folky notions that reminisce of travellers and pre-showgazed innocence, washed in electric instruments, equally swirling in echoes”….. [MANCHESTER MUSIC]

More info to be found at http://www.doghouseuk.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=110
 

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Let There Be Joyous Celebration And Festivities!

No, I don’t mean this weekend, but Saturday 15th September, which has now been confirmed – not only by the popular vote but also the agreement of Mrs Abahachi – as the date of the West Country Social, to take place at the Abahachi estate in Castle Cary in the depths of South Somerset. We’re aiming for lunchtime, making it easier for people to come across just for the day (the train connections aren’t too dreadful, either from London or Bristol); for those coming from further afield, there are various moderately-priced B&B places in the vicinity (and lots of less moderately-priced ones), and a handy orchard in which tents could be pitched. The house is the size of a shoebox, I’m afraid, so capacity to offer accommodation is severely (but not categorically, in cases of real desperation) limited.

Full arrangements can be sorted out nearer the time – I just wanted to get the date into the diaries of everyone who might be interested. I think the easiest way of organising this will be for everyone who’s coming to commit to contributing, say, a tenner, and I’ll sort out food and drink; let me know if you have strong views on this idea. Hope to see you then!

Smoking!

Let me introduce you to the newest member of the Abahachi household: Pat (named after my late father-in-law). Pat may look like a galvanised dustbin with a few holes in it, but this is actually my new smoker, in which I put to work the skills and knowledge acquired at a course last week (birthday present from Mrs Abahachi). So far I have smoked bacon, salmon, chicken, scallops (delicious), mackerel, cheese and salt; in this picture you can see Pat smoking some haddock for next weekend’s kedgeree, and at some point I plan to smoke some malt so that I can make Rauchbier. And if you come to the West Country Social – looking like mid-September, but there’s plenty of time still to register your availability – you’ll be able to sample some of Pat’s products, plus my home-produced cider, beer, bread, apple juice…

West Country Social?

I’ve been reminded of my promise last year to try to sort out a West Country social; it all got overtaken a bit by events then, but this year looks more promising. We will be very happy to host, if people don’t mind trailing over to Castle Cary (we do have a railway station!), in which case a lunchtime event seems the best bet. The alternative would be to meet somewhere a bit more central like Bristol, in which case someone else will need to identify a suitable venue…

The most important thing, however, is to try to agree on a date. I’ll be busy in June and away for most of August, but much of July or September would be possible; so far two people have voted for September, but they’re the only two people to have expressed an opinion… If you would like to attend such an event, could you indicate your availability below? And if you’d prefer to meet in Bristol rather than the depths of Somerset, could you say that in the comments?

Stonehenge (mini) Social

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the 'Spillers. No one knows who they were or what they were doing...

From left to right: Stonehenge, Zalamanda, Bethnoir, distant hordes of tourists.

On Saturday, a small social gathering was convened on the once-hallowed grounds of the ancient monument known as Stonehenge. On this momentous occasion, I was greatly pleased to make the acquaintance, in person, of Bethnoir.

The event was everything it should have been; the sun shone, the crowds weren’t too excessive, the picnics were happily (if not fully) consumed, the children frolicked happily together, and the grown-ups had a lovely time chatting. Oh, and nobody put Spinal Tap on their compilation CDs. Or any songs about standing stones.

Fortunately, we both have children capable of acting as photographers. Less fortunately, the subjects proved difficult; in the above image (devoid of smaller children and random tourists), we are looking at the wrong camera!

Edit: Apparently, music is required. The track I wanted isn’t on YouTube, but who needs the video?

Who cares where all the money went? Well… English Heritage snaffled a fair few pennies for admission. But I don’t really care. Right now I’m everso slightly regretting not having featured floral decorations as part of the outing (but the children were enjoying playing with the plentiful chalk).

How LOW can we go?

LOW ARE COMING TO HALIFAX !!!!!

They’re playing Halifax Minster, where I saw shows by I Am Kloot and Dan Michaelson last year, but missed ones from John Grant and The Unthanks the year before. Well I ain’t missing this one.

Tickets for me AND DarceysMam already bought. I’m prepared to pay for one more … for Shoegazer, to return the favour he did for me on the only other occasion I’ve seen Low, [at The Social, in Orlando, FL in Feb 2009]. All you have to do, Shoey, is get here!

Anyone interested? Friday 13th July is the date for your calendars, folks, (if you think you can afford two Northern Socials in three months – I’m still gutted I’m missing DaddyPig‘s 50th with RockingMitch.)

It would be nice if we could make it a bit of a multi-day Social event, but I know I’m working for London2012 on uniform distribution that weekend, and fear I said yes to both Sat & Sun.

Anyhoo, ticket info here:

http://www.doghouseuk.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=110

And deliberately-misinterpreted-to-make-it-look-appropriately-titled Low song here:

I CAN’T WAIT.

Hot & Steamy in The Deep Dark Woods

Yeah, that’s two coffees and a tea you see being supped in a Manchester City Centre pub by the Tins and my rather pasty-looking self. Incongruous, you say? Um, probably not, actually … or at least, no more odd than some of the other memories I came away with from The Castle Hotel last week.

In the credit column were racking up another miniSocial and chinwagging with old friends; meeting our charming and erudite Resident Deadhead; enjoying a single rather delightful pint of porter before reverting to driver’s drinks; and getting to see a very good band I’ve been listening to A LOT recently. On the debit side, getting ripped off for on-street parking even in the evening; being oven-baked in one of the most inappropriate rooms I’ve ever had the misfortune to see a band in; and finding a dent in my car roof after the event (good job the dealer I’m trading it to next week missed that on inspection!). I really don’t like Manchester – you can tell, can’t you?

But anyhoo, The Deep Dark Woods.
Despite observations from some of the others that their music may be a little one-paced and samey, I’m really warming to this band. Ryan Boldt has a voice that commands my attention – he can do wistful or gothic, melancholy or menacing – and from even a low-rise stage, a physical prescence to go with it. The seam of Americana the band mine is one they can trade with me anytime.

When I get the chance, I’m going to listen to Tinny’s linked interview, but in the meantime, here’s just one of the highlights from the album the band are currently tour-promoting.

It was a cold and stormy night. The woods were deep and dark. Somewhere in the distance, a lone beaver howled

ddw social


This is chris7572,  tincanman, alimunday, Darcey’sDad. and gordonimmel at The Castle Hotel in Manchester after seeing The Deep Dark Woods last Monday.

 Photo by Mrs Tin

(Someone was going to post this last week, but I’m not one to point fingers at the tallest person in the above photo so shall remain shtum.)

Mini Social: TreeFrogDemon and SpottedRichard (But No Ghost of Inspector Morse)

Venue: The Red Lion and The Trout Inn, Wolvercote, Oxfordshire

Date: Friday, 11th November 2011

Apologies For Absence: The Rest Of You

We hung out at two wonderful pubs by Port Meadow. It was a misty and coolish day, with little bursts of sunshine here and there. The tang of woodsmoke and damp leaves in the air, and moss on thatched cottage roofs. A perfect late autumn day, in fact for a bit of a stroll to walk off the ale and Welsh Rarebit we had for lunch. The cheese did not, however, induce ghostly apparitions, unfortunately, so we never saw an irritable Inspector Morse shouting “Get Me Evidence, Lewis!”

We didn’t talk about you all (much) except to sing your praises and say what a wonderful, quirky and crazy bunch you are, united by our mutual love of music.

Sadly, we had to postpone the CD exchange for another day, but we had fun getting to know each other.

Cheers, TFD! Love the Mudcrutch t-shirt!

(Not sure why my bra looks like it’s fallen off in this picture. Hmmm!)

Old folkers – Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick 70th birthday tour

Many thanks to Daddypig for alerting me to a gig at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds last night, (part of Carthy and Swarbrick’s 70th birthday tour).

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that they are two amazing musicians. They have been performing together since the mid ’60s, and have been involved with numerous projects and bands at various stages, including Fairport Convention; the Albion Country Band and Steeleye Span, to name a few.

I met Daddypig and his friend Terry (champion of the Guardian’s Notes and Queries) at the appointed time, in what has to be one of the mini-est Spill socials ever. We took our own beer – it was surreal sitting in a pew in a beautiful 300-year-old church and cracking open a bottle of Hoegaarden. Considering the status of the performers, the audience was small, and we had a whole pew to ourselves. It’s not often you see two folk legends checking tickets and manning their own CD stall!

The acoustics were excellent; the opening number was “Sovay“, followed by other classics including “The Death of Queen Jane” (above), “When I was a Little Boy“, and “The Bride’s March from Unst“, which Dave Swarbrick had great fun in trying to pronounce, with very few teeth. For a man who has survived emphysema and a double lung transplant, he is incredible, his playing as fluid and relaxed as ever and a perfect complement to Martin Carthy’s excellent guitar and dour vocal. In between songs we were regaled with tales of pickpockets, derring-do, funnel-web spiders and how to tell the difference between a slip jig and a reel (it’s all in the timing).

They are promoting a new CD featuring live recordings between 1989-1996 (“Walnut Creek“) – check it out, if you’re a folk fan. I’m sorry the audio on the above links isn’t very good.

My thanks to Daddypig for getting the ticket, to Mrs Daddypig for hospitality and Match of the Day, and to Terry for the lift home. Much appreciated!