Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Homelights was this folkie festival thing taking place in Whelans over a couple of days. We bought tickets for just the Sunday and then only came down to see what was on in the evening. When we arrived, Adrian Crowley was playing. It was nice to catch him, as my understanding is that he had organised the festival. He seems to be one of those singer songwriter fellows, and he played tunes accompanying himself on guitar. He also had some woman with him playing fiddle or something like that; I think she might have been temporarily recruited from another band playing at the event.
I am not sure Mr Crowley was that great, with the tunes being not all that, and what was good about them live was often the stringy arrangements, possibly lacking when he plays on his own. I did like one song that he played near the end, but I thought it might be a cover; discussions with my beloved suggested that it might just be one of those songs that sounds very like a song by someone else. I straightforwardly liked the last song he did, something about three saucy sisters where he liked the shy one best (matron), even if the lyrics seemed a bit odd. And it is only fair to say that Mr Crowley has an appealingly understated stage manner.
Next up was Andy Irvine. Handy Andy always delivers the goods live, and here he treated us to something of a greatest hits set – so we had 'Arthur McBride (And Then We Bate The Shite Out Of Them)', the one about Woody Guthrie, the one about the farmer whose crops have dried up, the one about the soldiers, the one about the gold miner who meets a lovely young lady, etc..
The gold miner one is a particular favourite. I remember him saying a while ago that he has never recorded it, because it is the kind of song that loses its magic once preserved in such a format. I could not but agree with him, on seeing the reaction of an audience who seemed largely to be hearing it for the first time. The one about Woody Guthrie also went down well, with everyone loving the 'All You Fascists Bound To Lose' sing-a-long refrain.
And then Vashti Bunyan. She is one of those people who recorded one folkie album back in the 1960s before disappearing off into obscurity, only to have come back to musical life in the last few years with new recordings, concerts, and suchlike. She has some oddly contradictory qualities – she is obviously a bit shy and nervous about playing live, yet she seems to really enjoy playing and gets a real thrill from bringing her music to an appreciative audience. The contradiction actually contributes to how enjoyable her music is live. The delightful songs are also an obvious help here.
Sadly I could not pay too much attention to Ms Bunyan, as the heat and close atmosphere of the venue (in stark contrast to the cold and damp outside) meant that I became a little bit faint and had to go and sit down at the back. I am so un-rock and roll.
an Inuit Panda production.
Golden Lion Tamarin