Sunday, 22 February 2015

THE JIGANTICS

Live Review

The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford

The Jigantics, pronounced Jig-antics rather than gigantics, are an entertaining band. Individually they are impressive musicians and as a group even more so.

The Jigantics at The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford.
From left, Rick Edwards, Marion Fleetwood,
Martin Fitzgibbon, Mark Cole and Lyndon Webb
However, it could be argued they need to decide whether they are going to be a band with a lead singer or a group which concentrates on being instrumental.
Should they decide the former then they need to get a dedicated lead singer in, if they decide the latter then all they need to do is carry on with what they are already doing and build on that.
This is not in any way to demean the efforts of Marion Fleetwood, Mark Cole or Martin Fitzgibbon who all sang on the night with varying degrees of success, but respectively they are much better fiddlers, accordion/harmonica players and drummer/percussionists. This observation does have reservations because Cole was suffering from a head cold so his efforts could well have been hamstrung.
This said, he performed a lacklustre version of the great bluegrass song, Man Of Constant Sorrow, he tried to inject a feeling of passion into the rendition but it didn't quite come off and the music was much better than the singing.
The same could be said of Fleetwood, who is an incredible fiddle player, when she performed The Valley. Unfortunately due also to sound issues she was often overpowered by Rick Edwards on the guitar, but when her fiddle playing could be heard it was gorgeous.
They provided an enjoyable mixture of cajun influenced music, bluegrass, blues, country and folk and their musical performances are flawless and full of life.
The Valley, which was a slow torch-style song from Fleetwood, was a little laboured and when Cole did a cover of Chuck Berry's 13 Questions his voice just didn't have the conviction or grit to carry off the heavy blues number.
The Jigantics are versatile and talented and there were highlights such as Fleetwood's fiddle playing on Willow however, when she sang Bad Liver & A Broken Heart her voice wasn't quite up to the job and faltered quite a few times and the same was true on the much softer Black Mountain Lullaby.
Drummer Fitzgibbon did a guest solo with the much-covered Lakes of Ponchartrain which he didn't seem confident in doing at all, there were times when you couldn't even hear his singing and others when he was totally overpowered by Edwards on guitar.
On tracks such as Mystery Train, they showed how well they play together as musicians but once again Cole's voice was neither strong or clear enough to compete with the impressive sound they were producing.
Their version of Hold On was a little rough and had more of a feel of a something from a working men's club cabaret night.
Musically The Jigantics are entertaining, versatile and play a wide range of styles and are a great live band but they need to find a definite voice.

You can see The Jigantics at Commonfolk Folk Club on May 21 at 8.30pm. The club meets at Pelsall Cricket & Sports Club, Walsall Road, Pelsall Walsall WS3 4BP