Question – take a five piece band from Wales with one of their members unable to be there and what do we get on stage?…six guys of course!
The band did state before the concert that there would be a couple of surprises and we weren’t disappointed. Adam Rhodes was the missing member, however instead we were treated to Ewan MacPherson (Shooglenifty) on guitar and Tom Callister (Barrule) on banjo and fiddle. They are a great example of original interceltic music and fronted by Jamie Smith on accordion and Oliver Wilson-Dickson on fiddle as well as the impeccably dressed (as always!) Iolo Whelan on drums and percussion and Matt (the man with the hat) Downer on basses.
They opened with Huzzah! – a great track to get the crowd going , although getting them to actually dance proved a no-go even though it was a standing gig. Some of the other pieces played ranged from reels to slower pieces sung in Welsh by Jamie which included Whiskey Pump Reels, Galician Stylee, Lady Of The Woods and Caru Pum Merch (translated as loving five girls!). This is a beautiful haunting song which really did require some quiet from the audience that wasn’t always given unfortunately.
The joys of seeing acts live is that they often give the stories behind some of their work and this was the case of the Gordano Ranter. This song was written after the guys experience of stopping at the aforementioned service station on the M5 late one evening, and having the misfortune to be served by a young man who, they reckoned hadn’t had customers for some considerable time and decided to vent all his anguishes to the band. It certainly had the crowd laughing as we have had such an experience at some time when least expecting it!
It was a great night’s entertainment and the group have a new album coming out soon which I look forward to hearing so watch this space!
Here again we have five musicians who went away to the west coast of Ireland together for two weeks, to look at their music in respect of the constant changing Atlantic coastline and sky. There seem to be more and more groups today, locking themselves away for a week or two for intense music sessions and in general it seems to work as it has for this band. Their other selling point, is that they are fronted by two banjo players – Ted Kelly and Cillian Doheny who compliment each other very well with accordion player (and poet) Darren Roche between them, along with Jos Kelly on keyboard and Paddy Hazleton on percussion.
Playing tracks from their recently relased debut album ‘Planted’, they have a diverse range of music and on one piece in particular where Jos was allowed his solo, it was reminiscient of Rick Wakeman from Yes or Keith Emerson from Emerson, Lake & Palmer in their heydays!
We were also entertained by the rendition of a poem penned by Darren on a bus journey from Limerick to Dublin – adding a different dimension to the gig. As for Darren’s accordion playing , I never realised one could stretch so far as he makes full usuage of his instrument at all times.
Onwards and upwards guys!
Presenter, Celtic Music Radio 95FM