Saturday, April 26, 2014

Live & local in central-south England

Well here things are; after RSD (of which more later) and an inconvenient computer failure what better is there than the thought that unlike RSD live music is a year-round occurrence in these parts?
None of it gets better than Acoustic+ in Frome. Yesterday was the 98th edition and probably one of the finest that I have had the delight to attend. The first artist to play has been around since the start of Acoustic+ about a decade ago and is currently on a 'World Tour' - indeed he was in Trowbridge last week and will be in Bristol this coming one! He is also an active promoter of live music hereabouts as well as a fine singer-songwriter. In the past he has often played accompanied...

Yesterday he played solo and with plenty of the usual patter between songs...  Leander Morales.
The act I was most looking forward to seeing was Gloucestershire duo The Black Feathers. Due to Play at Acoustic+ in late 2013 they had to pull out at the last minute as Sian Chandler had lost her voice. A month or two after that they played Nunney Acoustic Café, but I was elsewhere that day. I was determined to see The Black Feathers this time and not least because, in the intervening months, their star has very much been in the ascendant including, if I remember correctly, a mention on Mike Harding's independent folk and roots show. Having finally seen them play live I can certainly see why that is. I bought the 2013 CD EP 'Strangers We Meet'.

On it they have discreet and subtle backing, including Anna Jenkins (of 'The Red Clay Halo') on violin and viola, but yesterday they were just performing as a duo.

They mentioned that this was probably the amongst the largest venues that they have played. Once their début album arrives I doubt that this will remain true for long. A certain kind of festival awaits The Black Feathers with breath bated and, believe me, it is the kind of festival at which I may be in attendance.
The last act to play was another that is a stalwart of the arts scene hereabouts - Ben Waller and the Tell Tale Signs. Usually a five-piece they were joined, for the purposed of looped sounds, by a Toshiba laptop that proved wholly uncooperative! They got on fine without it and then, as if one trouble was not enough, one of Ben's guitar strings broke. The result of this was that he borrowed Leander's acoustic guitar, when he needed one, for the rest of the set. I never quite managed a picture with all five band members in it as this one lacks the drummer.
Towards the end one of the rarer instruments seen at Acoutic+ made an appearance...

Autoharp. There is a whole festival dedicated to this instrument.

That leaves just one of the four acts to mention. It was the only one about which I had no prior knowledge at all and, if you know me, you will already know that such things are one of my favourite festival pastimes and why I like the smallest of stages and opening acts in general. In this case, however, they were first support and the band was Budada.
The four-piece based in Bristol/Bath are an interesting find indeed and difficult to categorize. You might therefore best check it out for yourself!

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