Sunday, 15 April 2012

TWO TIME POLKA

Live Review

Newhampton Inn, Folk Club, Whitmore Reans, W-ton. (April 12, 2011)

They may come from Cork in the Republic of Ireland but their sound is Americana all the way through and they knock out Cajun and blues songs with such precision that you only realise they are Irish when they speak.

TTP are without doubt one of the most original bands on the folk circuit at the moment and have a fantastic range of eclectic sounds drawn from the length and breadth of North and South America.
The Newhampton Inn, Folk Club is essentially the upstairs room of the pub in Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton and, while it's great that a real ale pub runs such an event, the size of the room really didn't do the band justice and couldn't really cope with the range of sounds which TTP use in their repertoire.
This said it's always a pleasure to listen to the Cork Cajuneers fronted by one of the most accomplished and talented mandolin players around at the moment. Ray Barron is part of a wonderfully talented collection of musicians which includes Georgina Barron who plays her accordion like a pump action shotgun, the strong and gritty vocals of Aaron Dillon and local lad Davy Jones on the drums.
Over the couple of hours TTP took the small but mostly appreciative audience with the exception of a couple of women who bafflingly came to the concert and then spent a great deal of it trying to have a conversation over the top of the music, on a musical journey across North and South America.
Polka have an impressive blend of electric and acoustic sounds at their disposal and have a line up which gels wonderfully whether playing the blues or their more familiar Cajun sounds.
They integrated cover versions of songs such as Ode to Billie Joe, Merle Haggard's The Bottle Let Me Down and Kirsty McColl's There's a Guy Works Down the Chipshop.
Ray's mandolin playing is fascinating and mesmerising and uses what seems the slightest of movements with his hands. He makes the instrument wail and sing like Hendrix with his Fender. With El Comancheros he gave a glimpse of his prowess but to see him in full flight you have see him perform Dear John, which fortunately he did, then his mandolin ends up smoking.
The wonderful thing about folk music is that it can keep that political and socially observant edge and that's the case with Aaron and Brown Envelope which points a finger at Irish politics but resounds just as easily with parliament in England.
Perhaps the most "bizarre" of their songs is Dark Side of Macroom, I will leave you to find out for yourselves what and where Macroom is, but this starts with the classic prog rock sound of Pink Floyd but then is infused with Greek and Jewish strands and while this, for every reason you can think of, shouldn't work the talent of TTP pulls it off and for this reason alone you should go and see them whenever you get a chance.
For more information visit www.twotimepolka.com.