Thursday, January 24, 2013

Best Live Gig


Robb Johnson,
Bristol Folk House, March 9

Robb isn’t the best song-writer I heard in 2012. He isn't even the best protest singer I heard in 2012. But he doesn't need to be. Sometimes "We hate the Tories! We hate the Tories! We hate the Tories! And Tony Blair! Same difference there!" is all you need to hear. Songs that bind everyone in the bar of the Bristol Folk House together. Songs that say what everyone is feeling. Songs written about yesterday's headlines and doubtless discarded when they’ve done their job. An audience not merely singing along but dancing, clenching its fists, embracing one another. This is what it’s all about.

Don McLean
Colston Hall, October 19 

Yes, DON MCLEAN. Want to make something of it?

Blackbeard’s Tea Party 
Fulford Arms, York,  December 15th

Yeah, I picked them last year and I'll probably pick them next year as well. My Folkbuddies rave about them, my less folkie buddies say "I don't like all that old fashioned stuff,  but you can put that pirate sounding band on again." This was their free Christmas gig, in a squashed sweaty pub on the outskirts of York; the band in Elf costumes; Stu distributing Christmas presents. ("Yes — it’s a Tesco Value chicken and a child’s flotation device…Wait! That reminds me of a song…”) And having done a tour of the first two albums; and a preview of their new album (not only Jake Thackray, but Rudyard Kipling and an extreme Dick Turpin ballad I didn't know) the audience fairly whooped for joy when the encore began “It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank, an old man said to me…” and a wonderful folkyear came to as a perfect a folkend as we could have hoped for.

And the winner is...

Robb Johnson

"No master, no landlord, no flag, no guru,
No gauleiter, no commissar,
Just justice and poetry with jam on it too,
When they ask 'who's in charge here?'
We'll all say...."

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