Ade Edmonson and The Bad Shepherds
At The Quarterhouse in Folkestone
I really like The Quarterhouse. I went there for the first time just for drinks in the bar during the Triennial, but then I saw Arabella Weir read from her new book for the Book festival. And last week I saw Lacuna Coil, a band described as an Italian goth metal (and who I didn't think were particular goth or metal), but who were very enjoyable none the less.
On all occasions the sound was really good (very clear), though the beer prices were a little expensive, but not too bad when compared to London's. It doesn't hold too many people, which is good, as I've always liked small intimate venues!
Also, the fact that the venue is less than a couple of minutes from my flat is great too!
The support act was a young woman from Oklahoma called Samantha Crain, who reminded me of America Ferrrer, the actress, and my first thought when she started to play was that she was no Laura Marling, but I warmed to her, and she was very pleasant, though hardly revelatory. She came across well, had a strong voice and some good songs.
Not sure that I can really say that much about the Bad Shepherds. Their act is supposedly easily described ("punk songs on traditional folk instruments"), but that doesn't really do them justice.
Ade Edmonson came limping on to the stage, and lamenting a DIY accident he'd had (the details of which escape me, but he made it sound funny and somewhat idiotic at the time). The rest of the band followed him on (Troy Donockley on Uillean pipes & cittern on the right and Andy Dinan on fiddle, on the left) and they started to play. I couldn't place the song at first, though I recognised the lyrics, and this was often the case throughout the entire set! It was kind of disconcerting at first, though also oddly enjoyable in the way of a puzzle or a game, as you tried to work out what the song was.
And how they almost managed to turn the likes of Anarchy in the UK into a stunningly beautiful song was amazing, and so the pipes were a revelation (though I've obviously heard them before on such things as Kate Bush LPs).
They played for nearly an hour and a half, and I really enjoyed most of what they did, as they covered such things (not all strictly punk, but hey ho, let's go) as Our House, Making Plans for Nigel, Ace of Spades, Rise, Once in a Lifetime, London Calling, Blitzkrieg Bop, God Save the Queen and many more (they have two LPs worth of songs to draw from).
My only caveat is that I wonder why they don't just do their own songs, given how well they re-arrange existing ones. Ade obviously doesn't have a great voice and I suppose it is easier learning somebody else's words then writing your own, but why not give it a try (I know that that kind of misses the point, but as much as I enjoyed their versions of many of the songs, I often would have preferred to hear the originals).
Overal I really enjoyed the gig, though as usual I probably drank too much, but at least the trek home wasn't too strenuous (and time for a couple of pints on the way!).