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South Yorkshire Folk, Roots and World Music Festival, The Leopard, Doncaster - 17th September 2017
This was my second SYRAFM, and differed in that it was slightly lower key than last years. The main draw for me was the excellent Galley Beggar, and another artist who came highly recommended, Josh Burnell, complete with band, a bonus!
Josh Burnell opened proceedings with aplomb, and were a joy to watch, playing known songs, Blackleg Miner, Long Lankin alongside original compsoitions, much to enjoy and one to keep an eye on.
The Shackleton Trio who didn't appear on the original festival poster were a delight, despite being deluged with rainwater and protesting electrics they played on regardless, as probably did the dance band on the Titanic! A great delight and one another act who's progress I hope to keep up with.
Son of Scarborough, Dan Webster, another act I heard good things about, kept up the momentum with his band and their band of soft rock, country rock and Folk, a joy to watch and that young Joshua Burnell turned up again, this time playing Hammond keys in Dans band.
Happy Hunting, what can I say, another handsome highlight, a duo who played both originals and covers one of which, You Are My Sunshine was spine tinglingly dark and original, bit Gothic in a sense. A couple of songs reminded me of Steven Wilson or his Blackfield project in acoustic mode, which is all to the good in my book. The HH ep is imminent, and one to certainly investigate.
Here's my only gripe, the programming of the event, whilst consistent dipped at this point. No offence intended to the lovely Linda Em, but putting her on after Happy Hunting lost the vibe. While the vox and harmonies were excellent, and the stage craft homely and easy on the ear, the performance seemed a tad tired after the previous four bands, Maybe they should've opened proceedings and the event built around that. However, nice to hear original material performed highlights being Brig Hannah and Blue Girl.
Former X Factor contenders Mia and the moon put proceedings back on course, their blend of folk, jazz, blues and pop helped warm us up a bit, as the rain continued ( did I mention the rain?) and the night came in, there was the opportunity for some audience participation where we were invited to whistle along - not since Whistling Bill Smith etc etc - and most of us managed it. A great wee band, many standouts, Midnight In London is heartmeltingly beautiful.
The sun dipped and it was time for Galley Beggar, the Kent based Folk Rock band currently signed to the Rise Above label. I have followed this band since debut album Reformation House, I may be more than a little partisan when it comes to GB but the power and playing of both covers and original material enlivened the event on so many levels, how they haven't struck it bigger I cannot understand, their brand of folk rock is well worth investigating and investing in!
Finally Winter Wilson closed proceedings, I only managed to catch a couple of songs and was surprised by how fallow the marquee was looking, they are due to support Fairport Convention on their Wintour '18 and should fit in well with that audience, I shall look forward to catching them at Lincoln and Whitby on said Wintour.
If I had a minor criticism or two, it would be that Linda Em and Winter Wilson could've have been moved in the programme to make proceedings more consistent and avoid the dips that occurred for me and a few others around me who stated the same. It could've been better advertised, and better attended, that said, who am I to complain, my friend and I had the Joshua Burnell band perform for our benefit! Hopefully next year the consistency issue will have been addressed and attendance will be up for this true jewel in the folk and roots calendar.
Posted by Brasil on 19/09/2017
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