Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brampton Live was fabulous! Loads of friends, really well-organised gigs, and bowls of fruit backstage.

We rolled into town late Friday (pausing on the way North to revisit the unremitting horror that is the Bolton North services), John went to bed while Nic and Bec went over to the festival to catch the last set of the night on the main stage by Seth Lakeman. Saturday saw cloudstreet on the main stage. The heavy rain which had been a feature of the Summer so far made the site a wee bit soggy, but everyone was determined to have fun and the venue was fantastic. There was much hooting and hollering. And we played just before the amazing Maddy Prior, so we saw her new set as well.

And Saturday night saw us finally catch Bellowhead in concert. They did an absolutely storming set. Incredible passion, power and big, fat arrangements. Bec caught this tiny snippet of this glorious 12-piece in action:

And on Sunday we were a 5-piece!! Jonny Dyer and Vicki Swan joined us, along with Rebecca to create the biggest cloudy-combo to date. Vicki and Jonny had only hit the site at 4.50 am after the long haul from Sussex (ah the joys of a busy diary). We'd managed to organise a couple of rehearsals with them early in the tour, and with Bec along, we arranged a few of our songs for guitars, concertina, accordian, flutes, nyckelharpa, cello, percussion and 5 voices. The gig was a real joy. Great sound, lots of chances to kick the voices into gear and flesh out some of each other's musical ideas.

Vicki has posted a few clips on Youtube. Here's an idea of that to which we were up:

We missed the Kila concert on Sunday, because we were off on another drive ourselves, this time to the East and the South Shields Folk Club. A lovely night at the club saw us teaming up once again with Emma Nixon, who is taking time away from the Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club to study at the Folkworks course in Newcastle. The folk club gave us a terrifically enthusiastic night, including a floor spot by Stewart (pictured below) who went well beyond the call of duty, with a both a cork hat and Waltzing Matilda (complete with local accent, eg: joombook in his tooker-barg). A thing of rare beauty.

Monday night we were down in Sheffield to run a workshop for the Sheffield Folk Chorale. We were delighted to be asked to work with this group as we've admired their harmonies, arrangements and presentation since we first heard them in 2003. They were a great bunch of singers to work with -  fun, keen, and deliciously noisy.

And now we've a few days off and the sun is shining.  In an hour or so we're off to Dorset, and tomorrow sees us visiting the Eden Project again.

There are worse places to be.

Love from the road,


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