Saturday, September 05, 2009

Moseley Folk Festival – Day One, Frida (no, that’s not a mistake…read on) 4th September 2009

St Etienne's Sarah Cracknell

Whilst this is a certainly a ‘festival’ (full marks there chaps), and it’s in ‘Moseley’ (again, can’t fault you on that one), the ‘folk’ element is a little vaguer. Maybe they means that it’s a festival for people (or ‘folk’ as you could call them) who live in Moseley? It’s a minor point of course. I guess you could call any sort of music that observes life and society in some form as ‘folk’ music, which neatly embraces everything from Public Enemy to Tinariwen. Neither act was on today’s bill but we did get a positive cornucopia of musical delights. Once again Ben Calvert, the driving force behind Bohemian Jukebox (a mainly Moseley based night featuring all sorts of musical loveliness), was in attendance, kicking off the festival to a growing crowd of early comers (apparently, according to my growing email spam box, you can get some cream for that). He played ‘Flee’, which I love. I had a heavenly pint of cider. And the sun shone…kind of...although the wind made it feel a little arctic at times.

Other picks of the day included Fancy Toys (a kind of Anglo/French jazz pop collective who, at times, play each other…), a truncated Circulus (some of them were stuck on the M6…you wouldn’t get that nonsense in the middle ages) and Rose Ellinor Dougal (ex Pipette now doing her own thing…a mix of the melancholia of Morrissey and the space pop of bands like Broadcast or Stereolab).

Frida on Friday...

The big name for me though was Frida Hyvonen (or Friday Hyvonen as they listed her in the programme). I’ve had a bit of a Frida fetish for a year or so now after hearing her track ‘Birds’ on Pig Radio. Imagine a little Kate Bush, a dash of Tori Amos, some Regina Spector and healthy dose of Scandanavian cool and you’ll get some idea of the sound. The pounding piano version of 'Birds' which opened her set (I think the recorded track uses a harpsichord) worked really well and she went on to (it seemed to me at least) wow the crowd more than most of the first dayers. Her drummer did a little bit of tap percussion (Tilly and the Wall style), she took the piss out of a drunken bloke in the crowd who thought she was from Finland and then sang a cheerful little ditty about abortions before ending up with a storming version of ‘Scandavian Blonde’. She said she’d be in the crowd after the gig but I couldn’t find her. Probably for the best really…I’m sure I’d go into a bit of a Vic Reeves style leg rubbing.

The final act of the day also deserves a mention. I’d seen St Etienne back in 1864 at Glastonbury and they were alright. Sarah’s voice was a little weak as I recall. Tonight, reliving the whole of Foxbase Alpha, she was on fine form, kicking off with ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ (which she didn’t sing originally, but we’ll let that pass). It all took me back to those distant days of the early 90’s (cue sepia footage featuring The Happy Mondays, World Of Twist and The Farm...remember them?) which, scarily, are coming up to 20 years ago. At times it felt old too, and I had a strange yearning to grab some glow sticks and a whistle, but it was all done with such a knowing sense of fun and the occasional more modern twist, that it ended up being one of the better Moseley headliners I’ve seen.

(Pete Ashton's review of Day One can be found right here)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seeing your posts on Moseley Folk Festival, I think there are a few things coming up in the area care of the Moseley Folk Festival team that you might be interested in.

Please email me on charlotte(at) as it would be great to keep in touch.