Live Reviews

Published on February 14th, 2017 | by Mike Ainscoe


Love Folk Festival – The Atkinson, Southport 10/11th Feb 2017

(or just an excuse for Mike to get all wobbly legged over his latest musical discovery as well as running into Ciaran Algar and comparing notes on radio shows, the Folk Awards, Jim Moray’s ‘Upcetera’…and Coldplay)

Meanwhile, forget Trump, May and Brexit.  Never mind Bowie stamps from Royal Mail, Cruise To The Edge’s floating prog rock on a ship bonanza and you can also forget the fuss over who has and hasn’t been nominated in the 2017 Folk Awards. No. Never mind all that. Far more important is who’s seen my socks?

Last seen somewhere in Southport on a Saturday night.  11th February to be precise. The Atkinson    – part library, part museum & gallery and fine host to the 2017 ‘Love Folk’ Festival (in association with FATEA magazine). Yes officer, last seen worn in the Studio space until they were blown off by Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys between 7 and 8pm that same night.

Never mind Fairport Convention and Jon Boden doing it for the well-established folkies in the main theatre at either end of the festival. The young ‘uns (not The Young ‘Uns – 2015 & 2016 Folk Awards Best Band), Luke Jackson (not unknown to us at the Bandwagon or Pure 107.8FM), Lady Maisery and Folklaw had commandeered the Studio and showed why the future is bright and well catered for in both the feelgood folkie categories and by those who like their folk to be a bit more academic and considered.

But it was The Lost Boys – fresh from a 5am that very morning wrap on their new album; even listening to rough mixes in the van on the way to Southport – who were unmistakably guilty of blowing me, my socks and possibly one or two other attendees, away.  It might have been the whirlwind opening that was the incendiary version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Crash On The Levee’ (a track which seasoned Dylan watchers – the Bobcats – will appreciate from his own brilliant UK/European gigs of 1995 where it was also used as a set opener) where I lost it and then just held on for dear life for the rest of the ride. More likely it was ‘Little Sadie’ from his first album that had ‘get up and dance/stomp your feet’ all over it (nobody did) – just thank the Lord that they didn’t do the decent thing and kick back into the rollicking riff at the end of the songs fade or the pants may have gone the same way as the socks.  As a fellow folkie friend commented the following day, “That’s the sort of sound I got into folk music for.” Absolutely bob on.

Our Bandwagon cult hero Ciaran Algar having the time of his life stepping up from his usual duo combo with Greg Russell into a band set up and showing why he’s FATEA’s ‘Instrumentalist Of The Year’.  Jamie Francis making the banjo cool – especially when you stick it in your crotch and thrust the neck forward like a Gibson Flying V and Mr Carson laying down a groove which might not have the prog rock intricacy required in his work with PROG album of the year winners Iamthemorning, but proved that folk is usually at its best when there are drums involved.

No reason not to include a healthy helping of music from the new album, plus ‘Sultans Of Swing’ and Sam calming things down with a sensitive encore dedicated to Grandad Kelly. Having covered Dylan and Dire Straits it’s now just down to Mr Algar now to ease a Coldplay number into a driving folk version. ‘Yellow’ will never be the same again, as these are the guys who could do the impossible and make Coldplay sound sexy in a vibrant pumped up folky string band way.

The repairmen will have been on the Atkinson rooftops this past week making good the damage done by a roof lifting performance. I can imagine how Jon Landau must have felt when he watched Springsteen over forty years ago. To nick his hyperbole (which actually proved very prophetic) I too have donned the rose tinted bifocals, tried to cover the embarrassing patch where I wet my pants and have seen folk and roll future and its name is Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys.

Postscript: Black cotton, from Next. Mismatched with blue and red trims by the way.  The socks….

About the Author

Mike's mellowed in his old age, discovering the delights of traditional folk and acoustic music and the constant stream of new music coming through his passion as a gig-goer, music photographer and writer. With favourite artists and favourite songs which change daily, even hourly, he adds another spoke to the Sonic Bandwagon wheel of fortune.

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