Sunday, 4 November 2012

THE OLD DANCE SCHOOL

Live Review

KatrionaGilmore & Jamie RobertsLadyMaisery

Town Hall, Birmingham

It was a triple folk treat with a line-up of diverse and talented young musicians who are all part of the new guard.

The Old Dance School
Seven-piece band The Old Dance School, who describe themselves as a cinematic folk septet, headlined the bill kicking off with a track from their Chasing The Light album, The Long Walk, which filled the hall with a tapestry of sound that weaved the violins of Helen Lancaster and Samantha Norman in among the wide array of instruments the talented crew wield.
The tempo was a little more muted for another track from the disc, Craigie Hill which featured versatile trumpeter Aaron Diaz, who gave the song’s folksy feel an undertone of 60s beat music almost reminiscent of the Get Carter theme. TODS let fly with a track inspired by a journey, while touring, from Exeter to Glasgow on a short haul flight which was a fast-paced full bodied sound that again featured the strong trumpet playing of Diaz.
In the true folk tradition many of the songs are inspired by experience and events such as Sula Sgier which is a rock off the coast of Lewis in the Hebrides of Scotland, UK and is noted as a massive gannet colony where locals still harvest the birds for food and, controversially, is also to be a site of a wind farm.
The band went through some of its impressive repertoire with the oddly titled The Taxidermist, and a new arrangement of The Real Thing which had a Celtic sound mixed with jazz and rock strands.
Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts
Samantha and Helen showed their prowess on the strings with the pizzicato start on Spaghetti Panic, inspired by the famous Brum junction on the M6, before it burst into life bringing in Laura Carter on the whistle. They brought the set towards the end with Swifts and Martins, a number which would not have been out of place at any Ceilidh.
Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts are very much keeping the wandering minstrel strand of folk music going with their eclectic mix of songs gleaned from stories from family and friends and situations which occur in everyday life.
With Gilmore on fiddle and Roberts on guitar they took the audience through Doctor James, the story of woman who lived as a pioneering male doctor in the army without being discovered, The Scarecrow an ironic song about a guardian of the crops who didn’t seem to be doing a very good job and, Louis Was A Boxer, a character who frequented the subway store where Roberts worked part time while a student in Leeds.
Folk trio Lady Maisery
Trio Lady Maisery is an ultra-traditional folk band relying mainly on their strong vocal harmonies to tell stories of strange events and magical creatures.
Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans opened with Portland Town from their first album Weave & Spin -which I thoroughly recommend, an anti-war song Rowan learned from her mum.
The trio are also trying to reinvigorate the traditional vocal art of diddling, buy the album and you will understand what it is, and gave a wonderful example with two English songs the Primrose and the Bluebell Polkas with Hannah even throwing in some traditional clog dancing to boot.