Interview: Will Varley

On an early spring evening a little over six weeks ago, Will Varley stepped out onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. “It was amazing” he gushes, evidently still not over the enormity of the event. “Absolutely amazing. One of the first records I ever had was Bob Dylan live at the Royal Albert…

Gig Review: Skinny Lister @ The Junction 2

You’ll have to bear with me on this review, as my memories of it are somewhat sketchy and my notes, well, the less said about them the better. I can recall dancing with strangers while yelling along to the lyrics “Let’s get wasted on Rum & Ginger”, and I know that we missed our train…

Gig review: Beans on Toast @ The Junction 2

Christmas is a time for giving. A time for raising a few glasses, dancing like an idiot ​and letting your hair down. Beans on Toast arrived back in Cambridge last week, and kicked off the festive season with generous lashings of all of those elements, and then some. In fact, a Beans on Toast gig…

Gig review: Bellowhead @ Cambridge Corn Exchange

Review for Slate the Disco Photograph courtesy of Richard Etteridge Photography As musical relationships go, then the one between Bellowhead and the city of Cambridge is a pretty well established one. With several appearances among the highlights of recent Folk Festivals, a dependable annual date on their nationwide tours, and more than a few local…

Gig review: James @ Cambridge Corn Exchange

Thirty years is a long time in music. There’s not many that make it that far, and of those that do, it’s even less likely they’ll still have the ability to keep things fresh. This is actually year thirty two now for Manchester outfit James, and from a quick glance at the bill for the…

Gig review: Beans on Toast @ The Portland Arms

It’s not often you’ll see the mobile phone of an audience member drowned on stage at a gig, and nor is it often you’ll see a performer abandoning songs half way through, asking to be reminded of his lyrics by the crowd, or even less likely asking them not clap along as he’s really bad…

Interview: Beans on Toast

It’s best I warn you about this first before we go any further. By the time Beans on Toast reaches us in Cambridge on Oct 29th, he might not be standing. This summer he has played 15 festivals and 28 shows – probably mostly while fuelling himself with god knows what – and the Portland…

Gig review: Frank Hamilton @ The Junction

It has been said that ‘the greatest ideas are the simplest’, which generally speaking is a rule that tends to work. There is however a fine line between a great idea and a daft one, and it was along this very line that Frank Hamilton trod at the start of last year when he embarked…

Cambridge Folk Festival (Day 4)

Images courtesy of Rich Etteridge One of the wonderful things about festivals, any festival, is the chance to find new music. Cambridge Folk Festival is no different, as despite an obvious inclination to revive and regurgitate songs that go back decades, if not centuries, there is an awful lot of original material to see here…

Cambridge Folk Festival (Day 3)

Images courtesy of Rich Etteridge For all the oddities and variety on show at Cambridge Folk Festival, traditional folk culture is still very much at its forefront. Whether it be of a cultural influence, indigenous or oral tradition, there’s generally always something going on somewhere on site that is more upstanding of folk in its…

Cambridge Folk Festival (Day 2)

Images courtesy of Rich Etteridge Friday started with jigs and fiddles. A fiddling workshop to be exact – which is not I hasten to add, quite as dodgy as it sounds. It was quite a heart-warming sight in fact, to see a tent full of people, old and young, learning the ropes (or should I…

Cambridge Folk Festival review (Day 1)

Images courtesy of Rich Etteridge   Ah, Folk Music. Pot-bellied beardy types on instruments whittled out of wood and played with one finger stuck in their ear, isn’t it? Well no, not entirely. The 49th Annual Cambridge Folk Festival was, as always, a welcome reminder that while folk in perhaps its most traditional form still…

A soundtrack to travel

Well as this blog has slowly become a depository for my gig reviews and not a lot else, and with it about to become a place where I’ll be leaving my ramblings as I embark on a year or so on the road (more on that later) – this is my half arsed attempt to…

Gig review: Paper Aeroplanes @ The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Writing about a band called ‘Paper Aeroplanes’ is a gig reviewers dream. ‘The music wafted gracefully over the audience heads’, ‘From then on the gig took flight…’,’The evening plummeted to a fiery demise as all aboard screamed in horror’…you get the picture. I could just cram the hell out of this piece with flying related…

Gig review: Admiral Fallow @ The Portland Arms, Cambridge

“We’re only known in the UK really, and maybe a couple geeks in the U.S. Perhaps a guy in Japan and some Portuguese fella too” announced Admiral Fallow frontman Louis Abbott. Well, with a quickly growing army of fans, widespread critical acclaim and even a recent appearance on Jo Whiley’s Radio 2 show to boot,…

Album review: Model Village – A Solution for Everything

There’s a certain amount of irony in the title of Model Village’s debut album, ‘A Solution for Everything’. Not that I’m suggesting the record doesn’t offer any solutions, so to speak, but as a result of this being one of the most intriguing albums I’ve heard in a long time, it does pose more questions.…

Gig Review: Seth Lakeman @The Junction, Cambridge

Who: Seth Lakeman Where: The Junction, Cambridge When: Wednesday 21st  March, 2012 So folk is fashionable, we all know that by now. No longer music just for pot bellied men with beer and banjos; the genre of ‘folk’ now seems to have taken on life of its own, spawning chart topping bands by the handful.…

A Pogue is for life, not just for Christmas

Born on 25th December and worshipped my many, revolted by some, with an unkempt beard and a penchant for red wine; it’s pretty clear who we’re talking about here. Every December the part time followers arise from their slumber and his words are sung by all; but there’s more to A Fairytale of New York than Shane…