Tuesday 28 October 2014


Live review

Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

It all started off so well with Same Oul Town, the acoustics of the dark venue in Broad Street, Wolverhampton perfectly suited to Anthony Thistlethwaite's harmonica and Leo Moran's strong yet gentle Galway tones.

Anthony Thistlethwaite and Leo Moran
There were a couple of times when Anto's harmonies didn't quite mesh smoothly with Leo's voice and this was one of them.
Then Leo announced in his remarkably colourful way that disaster had struck and their set list for the evening was missing, he vowed he was going to launch an investigation into Shrewsbury, their venue the night before.
"We will have to make it up as we go along," announced Anto, and that set the tone for the night.
Anto swapped his harmonica for the sax and Leo professed his dread of nuns comparing them to terrorists before going into Can You Tell Me Who The Villains Are? It had the feel of a Dylan protest song with Anto's sax accompaniment filling the hall and sliding into Lou Reed's Take A Walk On The Wild Side.
During the prolonged version Leo employed a trick he claimed he pinched from Snoop Dogg to get the audience warmed up and as you can imagine the language was choice.
Leo was very much the voice of the night and there were times when you started to think, would you just get on with the music. But Leo has such an engaging character and boyish charm you do tend to pay him a little more slack.
Anto switched to the mandolin and eventually they did move into Friday Town but again their voices didn't quite blend but the instrumental parts couldn't be faulted.
Joe's Supermarket was just typical Saw Doctors the irreverent song with the caustic lyrics that make you clap along.
Leo Moran
In between this and their version of Bob Dylan's Most of the Time they yapped for nearly 20 minutes during which, unfortunately, Anto told the longest and dullest story about his meeting and smoking hash with the folk legend. This was followed by a really slow and thoughtful version of World of Good.
They finished the first half with Exhilarating Sadness and whether it was just the slowness or the audience joining in which put them off key but it did go seriously awry in terms of the singing.
They opened the second half with First Love and the duo were sort of lost in a semi-drunken singalong from the audience.
You have to hand it to Leo he wasn't at all phased when a one of the audience pointed out his flies were open he laughed it off before moving into Share The Darkness, this time swapping instruments with Anto on guitar and Leo showing his skill on mandolin. Leo showed some of his previous reggae band skills with the beat on Carole Manion which was one of the longest songs of the night and as they moved into the well-known Galway & Mayo the crowd lapped it up.
He pulled out another of his comic songs which have a serious message underneath, I'm Never Gonna Go On Facebook Again, which he does so well.
One of the best songs of the night was Maroon & White Forever, Leo got it spot on with Anto back on the harmonica.
They went out with one the crowd had been hankering to sing all night, Clare Island and they enjoyed every note of it.
The concert was one of two halves the first had too much talk in it, the second was much more musical and overall the songs were hit and miss but let's face it, the Saw Doctors and Leo & Anto are so well liked the crowd just wanted a chance to sing along with them and the duo gave it to them, and they sung them off the stage.

The Mike Harding Folk Show

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