|A three-gig weekend
||[Mar. 25th, 2014|12:18 pm]
If last weekend was all about the visual art, the weekend just gone was all about the music.
The first, the smallest and quite possibly the best was Thursday's: Tim Dalling and friends in the upstairs room at the Cumberland. An old-timey duo consisting of Tim's daughter Rhona (she has an amazing voice) and her friend Jess Collins, Cath and Phil Tyler and Tim's own brand of musical mayhem: some of his settings of Louis MacNeice, a tribute to Michael Mara, the flight of the beer monkey... Oh, and there was, in fact, a visual element - not just someone recording the whole thing on video, that's more-or-less a given these days, but artist Emma Holliday painting at the back of the room.
Saturday at the Sage, where Hall 2 was packed (people standing - and indeed dancing - in the upper levels) for John Spiers and Jon Boden's first farewell tour, as Jon Boden put it: last tour as a duo, as they are finding it harder and harder to take time off from Bellowhead. Sample dialogue:
We'll play a set of three tunes next. The first one's from Kent. Anyone here from Kent?
('Yes!' says a lone voice somewhere downstairs at the back)
Really? That's dedication! And the last one is a morris tune. Any morris dancers here?
(A great roar at this)
And you don't care who knows it. Good. The middle tune's from the secenteenth century. Anyone here from the seventeenth century?
(Several positive responses - of course!)
Hall 2 was considerably less full on Sunday evening, but Dick Gaughan was pleased to see us: Tom Paxton and Janis Ian were in Hall One, and he would, he said, have gone to that concert himself if he hadn't been here, playing for us. I'd never heard him before, and knew his reputation rather than his work; we'd booked for the concert on the grounds that it was about time we did something about that. It was a good evening, with its political heart in the right place, some fine guitar and distinctive vocals. I was less impressed by the songs themselves, but I wonder whether the sheer attack of the singing masked some subtlety: is it just coincidence that the song that stood out for me was one I was sure I had heard before (though it took me a verse or so to identify it)? And here it is: