The 36th annual folk festival continued in fine swing by hosting a night full of great music, visiting and local at the ever popular Carnegie Hall on Saturday.
The venue has been the go to choice for a number of local promoters in the last year. Its not hard to understand why.
Starting off the night were The North Ness Boys. Comprised of three brothers, Aubrey, Clive and Trevor Jamieson, the band have obvious chemistry – as you would expect from a band of siblings. You Are My Sunshine showed a fine blend of country and folk, while presenting the lowest vocal tones of the weekend so far courtesy of Aubrey.
The band showed their gospel roots with an acapella rendition of Peace In The Valley. This impressive performance showed the group’s strong three-part harmonies.
Kris Drever was up next. Having just returned from his UK tour promoting his new album If Wishes Were Horses, he was definitely regarded as “the one to see” on the night.
Kicking off with Wintermoon, Drever displayed the fine guitar work he’s known for internationally.
He then introduced a man he described as one of his favourite guitarists, the “evil genius” Ian Carr, who would go on to play with Drever for pretty much all the set, helping him play renditions such as If Wishes Were Horses and When The Shouting Is Over. The interaction between the pair showed they very obviously enjoyed each other’s company, which made it all the more enjoyable for the audience.
Up next, the crowd were treated to a great set of songs by Pedro & McEwen. Known normally as Ewen Thomson and
Peter Gear. Gear is an obvious fiddle maestro (as demonstrated by being part of the folk festival supergroup Dwaam) while Thomson (another Dwaam member with his fiddle) plucked away on the guitar with great skill and finesse.
Overall it was a very enjoyable set by the pair, featuring Gutters Of Skeld, a tune Gear describes as one of his dad’s favourites.
The Alan Kelly Gang were up next. The traditional irish music quartet fronted by Kelly provided a fine set of reels. Kelly proved to be an entertaining frontman regularly having the crowd laughing with his between-songs banter.
The band also included that man Carr again on guitar. With The Music Makers, flute player Steph Geremia sang with nice, clean vocals. She continued on vocal duties with Journey’s End.
For After The Last Bell Rings, Drever was introduced on stage to join in to play mandolin. Overall – a very fun set.
Ending the night was Sheesham and Lotus & Son.
In appearance they look like they were born a few eras too late, however they looked cool and sounded even better.
With 1929, the band showed humour and skill, with one of the members playing the fiddle and kazoo at the same time. Maybe a folk festival first.
They credited Davie Gardner as being the man behind their visit to the isles. “We learnt after one day to never call this place The Shetlands,” they said to much laughter. The band are unique sounding while retaining some familiarity. They sound nothing like the other visiting acts on display this weekend – funny, stylish and like a musical version of Mr Bean at times.
Carnegie Hall was probably the most suitable venue for these guys. The intimacy made it feel like the audience weren’t watching a gig, but crowding round a wireless radio listening to these guys.
One of the best acts of the weekend.