|Two Whitby concerts
||[Aug. 29th, 2015|10:52 pm]
We piggy-backed on a day of the Bears' holiday, joining them in Whitby for a day of the Folk Week, a day being morning to morning, with an overnight B&B between. For the first time, we booked ourselves day tickets: this doesn't actually make any sort of sense financially, unless you view it as a donation to support the Festival - and actually, why not? It doesn't even avoid having to queue for popular concerts, though it does increase your chance of being in that part of the queue that actually gets into the concert.
BoyBear was feeling fragile when we arrived, so we abandoned him and set off with GirlBear in search of lunch and afternoon concert. The creperie which GirlBear had earmarked for lunch (sometimes it's open in the day, sometimes it's evenings only: the pattern appears to be that if we are looking for lunch it's closed, if we aren't it's open) but we had sandwiches and excellent pea soup at the Whitby Deli, and enjoyed our lunch enough that we misread the programme and turned up for the 'Family' concert (families on stage, not necessarily in the audience) when it had already started.
- So we missed most of The Mighty Quinns (Matt and his father, Dan)
- though I enjoyed the polka which was all I heard
- Anne Lynch Lyons and Family
- gave plenty of scope for contemplating the dynamics of family. They started, if I'm remembering rightly with some tunes, then mother introduced father, who sang The Limerick Rake (all I can say about it is that by the time he finished I had triumphantly identified why I knew the tune: Tom Paxton used it for The High Sheriff of Hazard); mother introduced daughter, who in turn introduced the harp pieces she then played; mother introduced the song that she herself then sang; finally, says mother, we'll play some reels - and I'm thinking that I can spot who hasn't had a solo, even as mother is gently teasing son, who is grappling with his steampunk octopus (I mean, tuning his pipes). But then he's ready and, still without saying a word, proceeds to tear the stuffing out of a set of reels. So that family ended on an unexpected high.
- Graham and Sam Pirt
- A blast of the North East, and joining in encouraged: what's not to like?
- The third and last father and son duo, the excellent Tom and Ben Paley
- and a lovely set: some songs, some runes, some fiddle, some banjo, some guitar - how do you follow that?
- With Sandra Kerr, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, how else?
- - obviously having a wonderful time. This seems to be my year for seeing Nancy Kerr with a variety of different companions, and never titing of the experience.
Back to the flat, where BoyBear had perked up enough to take a little refreshment, and to plot the evening's entertainment over a picnic tea: there were a concert with Archie Fisher, that could be fun. Or here was one with John Tams, Alastair Anderson - no, Alastair Anderson & Dan Walsh: 'BoyBear, who's Dan Walsh?' 'Red-hot banjo player - get your coat!' So we went to that one.
- Moirai opened the first half:
- three women (the clue's in the name), like Fascinating Aïda if Fascinating Aïda if had been folkier (and less funny). I quite liked their tunes, but thought they went on too long, too many repeats. The songs tended to strike a false note for me. For example, here they are performing Bed and Breakfast: no doubt if they do a lot of touring they hit a dud B&B from time to time, but this describes the regime that was fying out in the 1960s...
- John Tams - and Barry Coope, but it was John Tams' show
- especially as he had just been awarded the gold badge of the EFDSS, and there was a lot of business around that - and it was a very theatrical performance, beautifully constructed and beautifully executed. Not entirely my kind of thing - as BoyBear says, John Tams can certainly write an anthem, and he certainly does - but just irresistible.
- After which we were all ready for a breath of air - and it was a beautiful moonlit night, so that was good.
- Second half: reset the dial to zero, and Steve Turner had the thankless task of reopening the show after the big finish,
- of singing (after John Tams) and playing concertina (before Alastair Anderson). He did it with a quiet intensity, and a musical precision. I'd be happy to see him again in a more intimate venue, and the Bears confirmed that he was a great club performer.
- Alastair Anderson & Dan Walsh were just great fun.
- Concertina and banjo? Yes, really. They met when Dan Walsh auditioned for the Folk Degree, and evidently continue to play together when they get the chance, not with any master plan in mind but simply because they enjoy it. So I couldn't find much in the way of video - in fact, this is all I found:
but it catches the feel pretty well. There was much discussion after the concert about the running order, and whether John Tams' set had been duch a blockbuster that he should have closed the show. As fae as I'm concerned, we ended on a high spot with Alastair Anderson & Dan Walsh.