Rura with Aoife O’Donovan and the East Pointers , Celtic Connections, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, January 29, 2016
I love the crowds that Celtic Connections draws for music that is pretty low key the rest of the year, but a Friday night Glasgow crowd is a chatty one looking for a good night out.
The East Pointers provided a suitable soundtrack for this at the start of the evening with their high-energy reels and jigs backed by the beating pulse of a stomp box. This three piece from Newfoundland – Fiddle/Stomp Box, Banjo and guitar – were able to command attention though, with some thoughtful, self-penned songs all tastefully arranged.
When Aofie O’Donovan, ex Crooked Still, came on, however, the crowd was still lively and that meant a lot of the subtleties of a fine performance by the singer and her band went unnoticed
This was no quiet band either with a drummer and electric guitarist providing a varied backing to O’Donovan’s acoustic guitar and seasoned voice. She ploughed on womanfully with tracks from her new album, The Magic Hour but the wry smile on her face suggested that she knew that she would have been better appreciated elsewhere at Connections.
Finally we came to the act that this party crowd were here for – Rura and they did not disappoint. With a high-octane performance the Fruitmarket began to bounce to the sound of the pipes, fiddle and guitar, backed this time with the dance music beat of the bodhran.
In fact the hypnotic tunes at points almost sounded electronic so tight was the playing. Like The East Pointers, Rura are a well-rounded band showing their full talents when joined on stage by their singer Adam Holmes. The billing apparently came about as the two bands have become friends on the festival circuit .
The finale saw an eight-piece fusion band joined by O’Donovan that sent the packed audience happily off into the night in search of more Celtic Connections- fuelled revelry.