Sunday, 19 June 2011

Drever, McKusker, Woomble, Holmbridge Village Hall, Huddersfield

It's not often (never, in my experience) that a gig starts with an announcement regarding 'A spot of housekeeping'. But that is exactly how tonight's show gets underway: 'Lavs at the exit to the right...meat tray raffle at the interval'.  You could never imagine something like this at the MEN Arena prior to a Kings of Leon gig - 'There is no plan for a fire alarm test this evening, so if the alarm sounds, please make your way towards a fire exit....and now please welcome to the stage the stars of tonight's show... KINGS OF LEON!!!!!!'

The ramshackle, slightly amateur feel to tonight's proceedings actually add to the sense of occasion as we took our seats (does sitting down make it a concert rather than a gig?) in the draughty surroundings of Holmbridge Village Hall filled to the rafters with locals - some of whom look as if they have just stepped off the set of The Wicker Man - to catch three of Scotland's finest songwriters performing here as part of the Holmfirth Arts Festival.  Accompanied by Heidi Talbot, the group run through a number of tracks from their 2008 album 'Before The Ruin' and have the attentive and appreciative crowd on their side from the start. With Kris Drever and Idlewild front man Roddy Woomble sharing the vocal duties, songs such as 'Into the Blue' and 'Silver and Gold' sound incredible as they resonate through the hall, and with the accompaniment of multi-instrumentalist John McKusker and the honeyed tones of Talbot on backing vocals, the band's alluring sound made for a bewitching night.  In the presence of great musicians such as we were tonight, folk gigs can often be a little too reverential for my taste, but the atmosphere and rapport between the group and their audience felt natural and relaxed and suited the welcoming if somewhat ungig-like surroundings. 

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