Monday, September 07, 2009

Moseley Folk Festival Day Two – Saturday 5th September 2009

Beth Orton

Day Two and an early-ish start (11.50) to catch tabla legend Pritam Singh. Glad we made the effort. In the right hands the tabla’s a remarkable instrument and today we were treated to a wide range of ‘conversations’ (the songs played on them) from around India. Watching Pritam’s fingers flash by in a frenzied blur you began to get a sense of the complexities of the music, every bit as impressive as, say, a guitarist at the top of their game. Full marks to the organisers for, once again, embracing a more global take on folk music.

A morris man gets high...

The Demon Barber Roadshow were the next act to really grab my attention, ska, morris and clog dancers and sword wielding rappers…no, not that sort of rapper…apparently it’s a form of traditional dance from Northumbria using swordy looking things (with a handle at both end though…as the rappers spent most of the time gripping both ends I guess having a sharp pointy end would quickly curtail the career of your average rapper faster than an AK47). It was a visual as much as a musical thing, although the wonderful traditional unaccompanied folk tracks sung by Bryony were as stirring as folk gets.

Wearing what looked a little like the more eccentric items from Alison Goldfrapp’s dressing up box Beth Jeans Houghton is one of folk’s hot young things. As well as being adorably eccentric she’s got a real knack for a catchy tune and a vocal that reminds me of a slightly drunk Karen Carpenter (once again, I’m sure that’s just me). Next up Drever, McCusker and Woomble are one of those groups that I’ve kept meaning to listen to. Idlewild, Woomble’s other band, were a particularly bright light in the mid to late 90’s and I recall a great gig at The Flapper (the first date of their first national tour I believe). On the way there we were listening to Steve Lamacq on the radio, he’d just signed the band to his label and they’d called in to his show for a chat…from a payphone near the venue. I had this great vision of several people crammed into a phonebox all furiously going through their pockets for 10p’s to keep the conversation going. Roddy ended up curled in a ball on the stage chewing his shoe…happy days. There’s far too little shoe chewing from our current pop stars. Anyway back to the present day. Roddy’s a lot more chilled now, but he still manages to instill that same sense of breast beating passion that made a lot of Idlewild’s early tracks so strong and, backed by Drever and McCusker, it was one of the discoveries of the weekend for me.

Be afraid...very afraid...Comus is coming...

From the sublime to the downright terrifying. Comus are one of those cult bands who made a fairly obscure record some 30 odd years ago then split up only to be rediscovered and resurrected for a second coming. I say terrifying because their first album, First Utterance (which formed much of the set), is full of doom laden psych tracks about shagging dead bodies, rape and losing the plot. Their lead singer (Rodger I think his name is), looked particularly demonic at times, as though he were channelling Beelzebub himself. Impressively demented. File under uneasy listening. Beth Orton ended the day nicely, but to be honest I was kind of expecting Comus to come onto the stage at any moment to start sacrificing virgins and the like. Time for bed…

No comments: