Thursday, 26 April 2012


i have finally made it to the red lion folk club
kings heath's worst kept secret
i'm still kicking myself about missing the sensational chris wood
who was here back in march
but am heartened by the first thing i see above the ticket desk
a large colour poster of jake thackray in his pomp
yes - the leeds legend played here once upon a time!
i'm partly here to catch layla tutt
she of layla and the goodlads fame
who so captivated me at the yardbird on sunday night
with her rhythmic acoustic guitar
floaty ethereal vocals
and intriguing lyrics
not to mention a graceful stage presence beyond her years
and i kick myself for not getting here sooner
for as i take my seat layla is most of the way through her support set
(i have not been aided by a cross-town cycle ride into a fierce rain squall)
i'm relieved when she announces she's returning for a second spot later
and pleased to have a brief chat during the break
it's a great little venue
a decent-sized but still intimate affair
with proper lighting rig, soundboard and foldback monitors
a guitar-playing red lion draped behind the diminutive raised stage
the old dance school are the main act tonight
and the seven members barely fit on the tiny stage
it's a versatile and nicely balanced line-up
two violins/violas
one guitarist/vocalist
one whistle player/vocalist
a trumpet player/weird sound effects man
double bassist
together they produce some dense textures
underpinned by a rock-solid rhythm section
uncannily the welsh 'coming home' connection rears its head yet again
one of the songs is called something like 'herud'(?)
a welsh word which roughly translates as 'a longing for home or place'
another song references bardsey island
which i'd never heard of until i looked it up the other day
after spying it among the panorama from atop the chair of idris
all this is getting weirder and weirder!
layla's second set does not disappoint
an intense affair
and it's reassuring that other guitarists have similar tuning problems to me
would i like to play this venue?
you bet i would
must pass them a demo cd pronto!

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