CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL
30, 31 JULY & 1, 2 AUGUST 2015
CHERRY HINTON HALL GROUNDS
TICKETS ON SALE DECEMBER 1 2014
“For sheer class and integrity, it can’t be beaten.” – THE INDEPENDENT
Tickets for next year’s Cambridge Folk Festival, one of the longest established and most prestigious folk festivals in the world, will go on sale on Monday December 1 and can be purchased from: Box Office 01223 357851 or www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk
Tickets: Full Festival £150; Thursday £25.50; Friday £55.50; Saturday £65.50; Sunday £65.50. Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £61.50, Coldham’s Common (second site) £42.50. All ticket prices include booking fees.
A flavour of the Festival can be found here: http://youtu.be/GmzfPSS0tsY
Having started life in 1965, the 14,000 capacity Festival draws acclaim for its combination of internationally renowned headline artists and support for up and coming young performers and continues to enjoy sell-out crowds year on year.
Popular for its unique parkland setting, great facilities and family friendliness, the Festival offers something for everyone with four covered stages, street theatre, music workshops and sessions, raucous ceilidhs, open stages, a youth area, internet café, kids’ ceilidh, storytelling, free creche, paddling pool and playground, real ale bars.
Following the triumphant 50th anniversary last summer, Cambridge Folk Festival won the highest possible environmental honour at the Greener Festival Awards, becoming one of only nine festivals worldwide and one of only two in the UK to achieve the Outstanding category.
The first artists confirmed for next year’s bill are due to be announced in early 2015.
I shouldn’t have to introduce either of these bands to you (the loyal reader), James have been mainstays on the indie rock scene for numerous years (first forming way back in 82), releasing intelligent, infectious and passionate albums throughout their career, from the early spiky, new wave inspired years to this year’s mature widescreen model (added trumpet and violin) as heard on the stunning new album La Petit Morte. As for Starsailor, they possess one of the best voices in the world of indie in the shape of James Walsh and released one of the most memorable albums of the noughties, Silence Is Easy.
My expectations for this one hit an all new fever pitch, here were two bands I’ve listened to for years on one bill, I’d not seen either group live before, so here was a chance I wasn’t going to miss. For me this was a must see, a chance to see those worshipped groups up close and in the flesh.
Starsailor took to the stage accompanied by a huge roar of approval from the crowd, the band drew from the audiences energetic response and delivered a spellbinding set, drawn from the band’s four albums to date, the band proceeded to produce a stunning masterclass of mesmeric indie rock. Frontman James Walsh tour into his guitar, whilst deliver those soaring vocals that he’s become known for, the likes of Poor Misguided Fool, Lullaby and Tell Me It’s Not Over all peppered by those lush keyboards and spiraling crescendos were lapped up gleefully by the masses, whilst the likes of Alcoholic and Silence Is Easy were hollered back to the band with more muster than most headline acts receive. James left the stage with his guitar still ringing out, whilst the rest of the band laid waste to rest of the audience with a tight finale, leaving blown minds and screams for more.
Few bands could follow the engaging spectacle of Starsailor, but then few bands can draw on thirty plus years of experience and less bands can boast a frontman like Tim Booth.
Now I know I said I was excited by the proposition of seeing James for the first time, but nothing could have prepared me for the exuberance, the energy and delivery of both the band and particularly Tim, I’m not really sure what I was expecting, I knew Tim possessed an incredible, moving vocal range, I knew that about his songwriting ability, a talent unequalled by any of the band’s peers, but what I didn’t expect was his movement, Tim jerks and moves around the stage like he’s been electrocuted, his movement is unique and compelling and he doesn’t stop, the band launch into an instrumental break and Tim’s off convulsing adding to an already bewitching spectacle. By the third or fourth song he’s dropped into the welcoming arms of his audience, carried aloft my the welcoming masses whilst still delivering his passionate lament, never have I seen a frontman embraced with the enthusiasm shown by the NIA crowd.
Of course the theatrics and Tim’s expressive vocals still wouldn’t mean a thing if the rest of James couldn’t back it up, but right from the opening duo of Sound and Walk Like You, the far reaching mix of trumpet, keyboards and of course guitar shape, each and every lament, whilst the rhythm section drive each number on. Lifting material from every corner of the band’s career, the audience welcomed each song like a long lost friend, with both the likes of golden oldies such as Laid and newbies such as Frozen Britain both hitting the mark as the band captivated the audience with a varied and always compelling set-list, obvious highlights included the mesmeric and poignant Moving On and a raucous main set closer Gone Baby Gone to name but a handful.
The audience naturally hollered for more and eventually a spotlight hit the balcony on the far side settling on trumpet player Andy Diagram in the audience introducing Born Of Frustration with a jazzy flourish and then another spotlight, this time our side, right above me and there in all his glory is frontman Tim Booth, embracing his audience, somehow hitting every note as a melee forms to hug him as he makes his way across the balcony.
With both Andy and Tim safely back on stage the band conclude their epic set with a frenzied Interrogation and a final flourish of fan favourite, Sometimes to a euphoric cries of adulation as the band depart the stage for the last time, knowing their job here is well and truly done and no one is leaving unsatisfied.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 10
Babajack at The Cube, Malvern 22/11
+ The White Feather Collective
This was to have been an evening with Babajack and special guests, Lloyd Grossman’s New Forbidden, however Lloyd was ill so unable to bring his band. Local new boys, The White feather Collective, were duly called up for duty, a band with only 6 months behind them, the big stage awaited. The line up was Josh Lambe on an acoustic guitar and vocals, Will Turner, electric guitar, Roo Macphee on bass, and Chris Reynolds on drums.
Their style is really planted well and truly in the early raw rock/blues era of the 60’s, and that is reflected in the sound, which is raw and edgy, helped by the use of valve amps and analogue equipment. A nice blues riff going on with ‘Writing A Novel’, with Josh changing his guitar for a harp, before finishing with a restructured and renamed song ‘Keith’, played in the manner of some bloke who used to be in a band called the Stones!
An excellent start, and I’m not sure Lloyd was missed too much, though he may have been peaking through the key hole to see how they managed. One thing is certain, we will be hearing more from this Collective.
Babajack, have certainly evolved over the years I have been watching them, a duo sometime trio, with their own brand of roots music, has become an established ‘main stage’ band, gaining drums and bass, not to mention a very strong following. They have collected numerous awards on this journey, but retained that unique touch to their form of blues. Tosh Murase’s right fist, smashed down on his Floor Tom, booming out the start of ‘Running Man’, and away they went, Becky in full flow, freed from the roll of sole percussion, Trevor, as ever, testing his wine box guitars to the limit. Slipping in to the group for the evening, Julia Palmer-Price, brings her cello to stage, as she did in the recording studio for the album. Bassist Adam Bertenshaw along with Tosh, lay the foundations for Becky and Trevor to weave their web through to the fabulous ‘Falling Hard’, before the boys take a break. Trevor’s slide and harp are kept busy, as Becky writes her ‘Death Letter’, their take on a song they have made their own, but crafted by Son House. They continued into one of (for me) the choice songs from their ‘Running Man’ album, Trevor on harp, accompanying Becky, as she sings the lovely ‘Hammer And Tongs’, great vocals and superb harp, it does not get better than this.
The band rejoin, and the music rolls on, examining Babajack’s catalogue of songs, slipping in the yet to be recorded, ‘Back Door’. Aired on Paul Jones R2 show, and taken from the live sessions at The Albert Hall recently, now presented to us.
Julia is giving everything on her Cello, enjoying the evening, teasing Trevor as he works his strings, Tosh is hitting those big drums like never before, and Becky is on fire, auburn hair flying, as the evening reaches its crescendo. Gallows Pole, a well used old folk song, is a a portent to the musical explosion that is ‘Skin and Bone’, Trevor resonating like a tuning fork, teetering on the edge of his seat, Becky, slapping her cahon, that hair tossing back and forth. BUT, there is only one way to finish a Babajack gig, the false end, the audience participation, it is of course, ‘Black Betty’, ‘nough said’.
Words And Photos Graham Munn
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