Review: Shut The Folk Up! Feat. Jack Carty, Timber and Steel, Brent Harpur, Pat Drummond and Annaliesse Monaro.

Jack Carty
Image Courtesy of Jack Carty

Shut The Folk Up! feat. Jack Carty, Timber and Steel, Brent Harpur, Pat Drummond and Annaliesse Monaro.
28th April 2011, Hive Bar

Sydneysiders know that when the rain comes it moves in like an unwanted, unemployed couch surfer. As the rain stained the Hive Bar windows I looked out into the deluge like a forlorn star-struck lover wondering if any bums would bless the many empty seats of Sydney’s sexiest new folk club, Shut the Folk Up!

Alas, there was no need to for concern as before too long one heaving, mindful, eager crowd piled into our little red cocoon at an unprecedented rate. Seats got occupied, corners got colonized as bodies bounced and weaved seeking free space to witness some first class folk. The numbers continued to increase and as I welcomed all to folk club volume 11, I was welcoming more faces than ever before.

First up – Annaliesse Monaro

With the stylish swagger equally owing to Leslie Feist and Emmy-Lou Harris, Annaliesse took our little folk stage with her right hand man Adam Pringle on electric guitar. With a sound that echoed like a quilt handed down through generations, the two-piece sent Australian folk music out beyond the ranges. Where, beside the campfires they wove beguiling tales of family, travel and community. The honey-rich sound of country authenticity drew equal weight from Annaliesse’s velvet vocals and Pringle’s bittersweet lead guitar.

Next up we had folk royalty, as Mr Pat Drummond took the stage. With a swag of songs to choose from (over 400 in total), Pat selected his tunes with the care of a three hated chef choosing ingredients to feed The Dali Lama. He wove his tales like a long technicolour thread through intricate and beautiful melodies. Atop his effortless guitar picking sat the stories of the many women and men Pat has met along his travels. With a professional sensibility Pat has empathetically and honestly retold their stories through song. After 35 years of not having a real job, Pat drew upon his strength as an entertainer to keep the crowd caught up in his colourful spell. Employing sing-along, humour and a wealth of experience Pat led us through his intriguing back catalogue, and left us speechless.

Our resident poet for the evening, the very approachable Brent Harpur took microphone after a quick break. Brent employed his two strengths of humour and imagery to paint the creative space with his beautiful words. Preceding each poem with personable and funny anecdotes Brent allowed the crowd space before they would embark again upon his colourful and poetic journeys. A man new to the scene in Sydney we welcome him with open arms and hope to see that curly afro for many nights to come.

Timber and Steel
Image Courtesy of Annette Wilson (Post-Gig Gigs)

What I really liked about Macca and Gareth “Evan Hughes” Evans (Timber and Steel) is how their folk sensibilities belie their precious years. These two musicians are the real deal and carry on a long and wonderful tradition of folk music, giving mindful, equal measure to entertainment and musicianship. Wearing their folk on their sleeves they opened with a hilarious parody of Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” (an act which in itself could potentially call for their excommunication from the folk scene). From then on the lads carried on a journey through the modern and the old, mixing in an original (in B minor), with the works of Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn then ending on a beautiful, version of Robert Allen Zimmerman’s “Boots of Spanish Leather”.

Legend has it too, that these lads were responsible for bringing many of the wonderful and respectful crowd that filled the Red Cocoon. So I would like to take time out from this impartial review to thank the crowd for coming, staying till the end and being so appreciative.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen we had Mr Jack Carty. The tallest man in folk removed his boots and took to the stage. Snapping into his set with his hard working fingers bouncing across the six strings in guitar-picking majesty; he then lent these melodies his soulful falsetto and completed the picture of a real folk gem with great potential. As folk club guided towards midnight for the first time, Jack Carty performed a first-class set, combining humorous on-stage banter, with his beautiful and evocative songs.

Well, the rain came but so did the people, braving the elements for a memorable evening of song, humour and prose.

Let me leave you with some final advice: Shut the Folk Up! May 26th, same time, same place

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