Call me Russ L

Wildfowl, silver lamé and standing on one leg: Moseley Folk Festival 2009

Posted in Music by Russ L on 21 September, 2009

Just the Sunday (the sixth of September) of Mizoke Fizolk for me this year. Things started badly when it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to borrow The Annual Folk Festival Hat, but got better soon enough.

Moseley Park was as lovely as ever, and perhaps even seemed a bit more so due to layout changes: this year the side stage was over on the left as you look at it (where it was the first year, although still the bigger one they’ve used the last couple of times), and so we got a better view of the lake and its wildfowl. And, erm, the great big scary white balloons that looked uncannily like Rover from “The Prisoner”. There were clearly and obviously more punters than in previous years, but things never seemed crowded.

I’ll just mention the highlights, I think. Given that I’ve hardly written about anything at all that I’ve been to in the last six months I doubt I need to feel guilty here.

~ Wizz Jones: A legendary legend-like legend who is a legend that I hadn’t heard of in my life prior to this. Festivals of this nature always have such sorts. Laid-back folk and acoustic blues with lots of your finger-pickin’-good guitar, and really enjoyable. I especially liked his rendition of “King Of Rome” and think that there should be more songs about pigeon racing.

~ Hunter Robertson: Married a voice like an Appalachian bear burping after eating Tom Waits with some of that really fast clawhammer banjo stuff that sounds like music from a chase scene. This is all a very good thing.

~ Laura Louise: I made a point of heading over to the Bohemian Jukebox stage (the “slopey tent”, as LL had it. Extensive use was made of silver Lamé for décor, and I approve of this) for Laura Louise, having seen and liked her before with Carina ages ago, but I really wasn’t expecting her to be as good as this. Very, very nice use was made of a loop pedal (she felt the need to explain what it was, bless her, almost as though they’re not used by six out of every five solo artists going nowadays), a voice that you really wouldn’t expect if you just glanced at her (unfair as that may be), beatboxing, guitar-tapping for percussion, and what sounded like some really good songs at first listen. I must pay closer attention henceforth.

~ Bad Shepherds: Ade “Eddie” Edmonson’s band, playing (mostly) punk covers in a folk idiom. No mere joke band, either – they’re actually really good. Good enough for me to want them to have a better singer than Eddie, in fact, hilarious though he is. I really liked some of their versions, anyway: I thought “Down The Tube Station At Midnight”, “Against The Wall” and “Once In A Lifetime” all worked particularly well, although the highlight of the entire day was probably their take on the first verse of “All Around My Hat” (with no instrumentation, they all solemnly sang as one: “All around my hat/I shall wear the green willow/And all around my hat/For a twelve month and a day/And if anyone should ask me/The reason why I’m wearing it/Mind your fucking business/It’s my fucking hat”.)

~ Errrrrmmm: I popped over to The Prince Of Wales for a bit (all the green was burning itself into my vision. Also I fancied a change from the Purity ales, nice as they were) and saw a girl with blonde dreadlocks singing and guitaring, backed by a Destroyer on banjo and someone I’m sure I recognised from some band or other on fiddle. So, anyway, quite nice fun’n’frothy songs but I have absolutely no idea what her name was.

~ Mama Matrix: Ooh, I’d wanted to see these for ages but not quite managed it until this point. It seems as though history may condemn them to be known as Birmingham’s Other Gypsy/Balkan Band, although that’s not to be taken as any slight. They’re a lot more straightforward/song-based than *cough*, but lots of energetic fun nevertheless. Admittedly I was completely plastered by this point in the night.

~ Jethro Tull: Jethro Tull, eh? Blimey. Ian Anderson’s voice isn’t as clear as it once was (he now sounds like he has an extra mouth singing “hhhhhhhnnnnnn” at the same time as every word), but he does still stand on one leg to play the flute at times and clearly this is what’s important. The ‘Tull were great fun, and every bit as gloriously silly as you’d want. I’ve always liked their older/blues-rockier stuff more, but the stuff I like less sounded better live too (I also had to chuckle to myself when Ando proclaimed “Back To The Family” as the worst song he’d ever written. Stealth-self-aggrandisement indeed). And, y’know, he does still stand on one leg at times.



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