HOLY MOLY &
We knew when we booked Holy Moly and the Crackers that we would be in for a raucous, foot stomping, toe tapping night of music, and how right we were. With charismatic frontman Conrad Bird and the wonderful voice and fiddle of Ruth Patterson leading the band through their paces, Holy Moly delivered a stunning set that, by the end of the night, had the entire audience on their feet, many of them dancing to the infectious mix of folk, rock and country that the band blended so effortlessly and with such great effect
The first set drew on material from their debut CD First Avenue, including 'ode to the road' Highway Shoes, Bluebell Wood and Shepherd Song, as well as a rousing cover of Ain't no Grave, whilst the second set was centred around their most recent album Salem, with blistering versions of Sugar, Easy as the Sunrise and Woman from Spain being particular highlights.
By the time of the encores the audience were grinning from ear to ear and whooping and cheering an outstanding young band who had delivered a fabulous night of music. We had warned you that they would raise the roof, well the roof stayed on — but only just!
Martin was recently nominated for the thirteenth time as 'Musicians the Year' in the Radio 2 Folk Awards, and after his performance at Mottram it is easy to see why. He is simply one of the best guitarists and banjo players performing anywhere in the UK at the moment and we were privileged to witness him deliver a musical masterclass of the highest order.
With the bulk of his set drawn from his latest album, Trails and Tribulations, each song was introduced with information on its history, inspiration and genesis, as well as reflections on home, parenthood, nature and the political situation in which we find ourselves. Starting out on guitar he treated us to, among others, Reynardine, St James' Hospital/Blind Willie McTell, Maps, Blues Run the Game, Never any Good, a beautiful and utterly poignant, Jasper's Dancing Shoes and Thomas Drew. A switch to the banjo brought a haunting Hills of Shilo, the Rufford Poacher and a mesmerising Bones and Feathers. As the final encore, Dark Swift and Bright Swallow drew to a close, it was easy to understand just why he has received more nominations than any other musician.
A special thanks to Tom Ursine for his great photo of Martin Simpson at Mottram.
MARTIN CARTHY &
Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick truly deserve the label of living legends. With a combined age of 148 they have spent their entire musical careers as part of the English Folk tradition, and all that skill, knowledge and warmth were brought to Mottram for a fabulous gig that lasted well over 2 hours and encompassed 20 songs spanning at least 4 decades of performance. Mixing solo material with a healthy sprinkling of tracks from their time with Brass Monkey the pair provided a rousing night of songs and instrumentals, with John moving effortlessly between accordian, melodeon and concertina whilst Martin played with his usual grace and elegance. Interspersing the music with a range of anecdotes about Dave Swarbrick, Fairport Convention and Trevor Lucas, The set list included: Flash Lad, the Jolly Tinker, Maid of Australia, Carthys' March/The Lemon Tree, a fantastic Prince Heathen, beautifully rendered versions of Fairport's Crazy Man Michael and Now Be Thankful, The Sun Shines Down So Early and ended with a foot stomping Tip Top Hornpipe/Primrose Polka. A terrific night of music when giants and legends weaved their magic at Mottram.
We closed 2018 in style with a rare and powerful acoustic performance from Jo Dudderidge and Adam Gorman from The Travelling Band. Hailing from "The peoples republic of Manchester" they delivered a stunning set of powerful and beautifully crafted songs which lost nothing by only being performed on guitar and keyboards.
With Jo moving effortlessly between guitar and piano and Adam swapping between a variety of electric and acoustic guitars, the set was a fine mix of material from latest album 'Sails' balanced with older material drawn from a 10 year back catalogue of the highest quality.
Mopping Forward, Moments Like Switches and Loser saw them swapping lead vocal duties, with the other harmonising beautifully in the background, with a standout moment being a beautifully rendered version of the Stone Roses classic Waterfall, which drew sustained applause from an enraptured audience.
The second half drew more heavily on older material from The Big Defreeze and Screaming is Something, with Hindsight, the fabulous Battlescars and encore Sundial all receiving cheers of approval and enthusiastic audience participation.
A fabulous way to close 2018, truly Travelling in style!