Thank Folk It’s Friday – 30th August


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Johnny Flynn has revealed another track from his upcoming LP, the T.S. Eliot inspired “After Eliot”. Details here

– While he’s in the country for BIGSOUND Billy Bragg has announced a single showcase in Sydney. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Rosie Catalano has revealed the details of her new EP including a stream of the first single “Hearts” featuring Jack Carty. Details here

Boy & Bear have released their new video for the single “Three Headed Woman”. Details here

Bluesfest announced their first round of artists for 2014 including John Mayer, The Dave Matthews Band, John Butler Trio, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Iron & Wine, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Devendra Banhart and many many more. Details here

The Little Stevies have revealed details of their upcoming album along with a video of the first single. Details here

– The new EP from Zoe Elliot, Black Dog, has been officially launched along with a video for the first single plus a handful of tour dates this September have been announced. Details here

Caitlin Rose released her new single “Waitin'”. Details here

– Adelaide folk favourites The Timbers have announced an East Coast tour this October. Details here

– It’s great to see the Georgia Fair boys back with some new music and a national tour. Details here

Busby Marou have a new album and a massive national tour due this October. Details here

Tanya Batt will be launching her new EP Atlas in Melbourne next week. Details here

– The latest single from Buffalo Tales is “Puppet Strings”. Details here

– The full lineup for the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival has been announced including Mustered Courage, The Company, Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies, The Mid North, Bellyache Ben and The Steamgrass Boys, The Lurkers, Oh Pep!, Rhiannon and Monique and many many more. Details here

– Check out the brand new video from Catherine Traicos and the Starry Night, “Light In The Dark”. Details here

– All of the details of the new album from Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes have been been revealed. Details here

Pete Roe has a brand new video for the track “A Strange Kind of Mystery in the Air”. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance has announced plans for his first ever Australian tour. Details here

Liam Gale & The Ponytails will be launching their new single “Antipodean Honour” in Sydney next month. Details here


“I’m a big fan of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, all these guys they just go on stage and you just want to look at them. And, you’re like, ‘I just want to go and have a beer with them afterward,’ I don’t like people coming on stage and you just don’t know who they are. I don’t know, I really like people where you can really feel their personalities”Mélanie Pain chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

Releases This Week

StatesThe Paper Kites

Timber and Steel Presents

Asheigh Mannix
Ashleigh Mannix with Al Parkinson, Dan Parsons
Sunday 1st September – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickers on the Door

Buffalo Tales
Buffalo Tales
Frdiay 30th August – Sandbar, Mildura, VIC
Saturday 31st August – Club Legion, Broken Hill, NSW
Sunday 1st September – Cobdolga Club, Cobdolga, SA

Official Site

Fanny Lumsden
Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers
Friday 30th August – Wesley Ann, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st August – Baha Tacos, Rye, VIC
Sunday 1st September – Pure Pop Records, St Kilda, VIC

Tickets From Venue

Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson with Little Bighorn
Friday 30th August – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 31st August – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 6th September – The Promethean, Adelaide, SA

Official Site

Gigs Next Week

Ashleigh Mannix
Friday 30th August – Baha Tacos, Rye, VIC
Sunday 1st September – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 5th September – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 6th September – Babushka Lounge, Ballarat, VIC

Friday 6th September – Ya-Ya’s, Perth, WA

Jack Carty
Friday 30th August – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Saturday 31st August – Joe’s Waterhole, Eumundi, QLD
Sunday 1st September – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 6th September – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Josh Pyke
Friday 30th August – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 31st August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 5th September – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 6th September – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA

Little Features feat. Joshua Chamberlin, Betty and Oswald, The Conversations, Jacob Pearson
Saturday 31st August – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Major Chord with Brighter Later
Saturday 31st August – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Paul Kelly
Friday 30th August – City Hall, Hobart, TAS

Sam Brittain
Friday 30th August – The Beresford, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st August – Barossa Regional Art Gallery, Tanunda, SA
Thursday 5th September – The Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Sam Buckingham
Friday 30th August – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Tanya Batt with Timberwolf, Eliza Hull
Wednesday 4th September – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

The Go Set with The Real McKenzies
Friday 30th August – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart TAS
Saturday 31st August – Espy Gershwin Room, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 1st September – Barwon Club, Geelong VIC
Wednesday 4th September – ANU Bar, Canberra ACT
Thursday 5th September – Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
Friday 6th September – Miami Tavern Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD

The Paper Kites
Friday 30th August – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 31st August – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 5th September – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 6th September – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD

The Timbers
Friday 30th August – The Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Woohoo Revue
Friday 30th August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st August – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 6th September – Venue 505, Surry Hills, NSW

Vance Joy with Fraser A. Gorman
Friday 30th August – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st August – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 3rd September – The Corner, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Two Step” – The Dave Matthews Band

With the announcement of The Dave Matthews Band on the 2014 Bluesfest lineup this week I couldn’t help but share with you the song that made me fall in love with them so many years ago. Their appearance at Bluesfest is going to be epic!

New Pete Roe Video, “A Strange Kind of Mystery in the Air”

Pete Roe
Image Courtesy of Pete Roe

There’s a chance you know Pete Roe as the sometimes-touring pianist for Laura Marling (he famously shaved off his beard mid set at a Laura Marling concert in Sydney a few years back) or for his really interesting solo work that has evolved from it’s jazzy beginnings to his current folky sounds.

Pete Roe’s latest album is Our Beloved Bubble and his new single, “A Strange Kind of Mystery in the Air”, is a lovely slice of folk goodness. Check out the Lorn Macdonald directed video below:

Review: Communion, “The Flowerpot Sessions”

Flowerpot Sessions
Image Courtesy of Communion

In July last year Communion, the UK based nu-folk club night and burgeoning record label started by Ben Lovett (Mumford and Sons), Kevin Jones (Cherbourg, The Bear’s Den) and producer Ian Grimble took over London venue The Flowerpot for a series of very special shows. The shows, featuring the likes of Pete Roe, Passenger, The Staves, Mt. Desolation, Damien Rice, Marcus Foster, Matthew and the Atlas plus Australians Angus and Julia Stone and Sarah Blasko, saw the performers not only play their usual live sets but also had Communion encouraging them to collaborate with each other and write brand new material.

The result is the two or three (depending which version you buy) disc album The Flowerpot Sessions bursting with awesome folky goodness. The copy I managed to get my hot little hands was the standard, two CD edition but I’m not complaining – that’s over two hours of music from some of my favourtie up and coming bands.

Beginning with Kill it Kid and The Joker and the Thief collaborating on the awesome blues number “Something Funny”, you know that The Flowerpot Sessions is going to be something special. For a live recording I’m surprised at how crystal clear the production is on the album and how little audience noise has been captured. The skills of the performers combined with the outstanding mixing/production means a very polished album that could well have been put together in a studio.

It’s almost impossible to do justice to just how many standout tracks there are on The Flowerpot Sessions. Almost every single song is a masterpiece but a few do need a special mention:

The Treetop Flyers, a group that hasn’t been featured on Timber and Steel yet but really should be, contribute their track “It’s About Time” to the first CD and it’s an absolute gem. The opening guitar riff is almost Celtic in the way it dances over the guitar but Reid Morrison’s lead vocals drag the song straight into the twenty first century with a sense of pain and longing.

The two contributions from Angus and Julia Stone, “To Let Go” performed with Sarah Blasko and the Grease cover “You’re The One That I Want” performed with Damien Rice, are at the standard you’d expect from the brother/sister duo. I’ve heard “You’re The One That I Want” so many times from the Stones so this version is almost passe (even with the inclusion of Rice) but “To Let go”, which was written for the performance, is just mesmerising.

Probably my favourite track off the entire compilation is the brand new Passenger song “Patient Love”. Mike Rosenberg’s ability to craft a seemingly simple song with the lyrical depth and maturity of “Patient Love” is a true gift – I really hope this one makes his next album.

Other highlights include “Mexico” by The Staves, “Bellina” by Pete Roe, “Movement” by Marcus Foster, “For Birds” by James Moss (featuring harmonies from The Staves), “All I Want” by Sarah Blasko, “Beneath The Sea” by Matthew and the Atlas, “Little Eyes” by Crowns and the awesome Blind-Boys-Of-Alabama-esque “Old Fashioned Morphine” by Tom McKean & The Emperors.

Overall a stunning album from start to finish – and I’ve only heard two of the possible three discs. If this is an example of the talent that Communion is able to muster it’s no wonder that they’re one of the hottest labels in the UK right now.

The Flowerpot Sessions currently has no Australian release date (despite the inclusion of the Stones and Sarah Blasko). If you’re keen to have a listen to tracks from The Treetop Flyers, Kyla La Grange, Passenger and Matthew and the Atlas head over to this I-D Magazine article and scroll down to the end for a link to some free downloads. Other than that you have to scour the interwebs for a download or hard copy site that delivers to Australia. If we hear anything about a local release you’ll be the first to know.

Watch the “trailer” to The Flowerpot Sessions below:

Communion Presents The Flowerpot Sessions Website and Album

Communion Flowerpot

Last July UK nu-folk club night and record label Communion took over London venue The Flowerpot for three back-to-back nights in an attempt to show case the best in up and coming artists as well as record a live album. Well that live album has just been given a release date and you can get a sneak peak.

Communion Flowerpot The album, titled Communion Presents The Flowerpot Sessions, is due to be released on the 23rd May in the UK with no word yet on an international release. But hopefully Australians will get a chance to get their hands on the album as it features home grown artists such as Sarah Blasko and Angus and Julia Stone. When you round that out with names like Mt Desolation, Matthew and The Atlas, Marcus Foster, The Staves, Passenger, Pete Roe and Damien Rice this is bound to be an absolute must have for fans of folk everywhere. and yes, that’s the art work to the left there.

And Communion have an extra special treat leading up to the release of Communion Presents The Flowerpot Sessions. The label has produced this wonderful website specifically for the album where you can preview evey single track. Click here and prepare to get lost for the rest of the afternoon. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear news of an Australian release.

Open House Festival Free Album

Matthew and the Atlas
Image Courtesy of Matthew and the Atlas

Festival season in UK is starting to come to an end but there are still a few gems for us Aussies to get jealous about. One such event is the Belfast’s Open House Festival featuring some of the world’s best nu-folk acts including Mumford and Sons, Iron and Wine, Wilco and more.

While it’s unlikely we’ll make it to the festival Open House has been kind enough to supply a free downloadable album featuring some of the its up and coming artists such as Pete Roe, Matthew and the Atlas (above) and Andrew Davie. You can download the album here. The full track listing is:

1. Andrew Davie – “Lost”
2. ExLovers – “Phonebooth”
3. The Lowly Knights – “You Can’t Help Who You Love”
4. Marcus Foster – “Demons”
5. Matrimony – “Last Love”
6. Matthew and the Atlas – “Within The Rose”
7. Modest Mouse – “The Whale Song”
8. Kowalski – “Get Back”
9. Napoleon – “Holding on to Hope”
10. Nathaniel Rateliff – “Early Spring Till”
11. Old Crow Medicine Show – “Caroline”
12. Pete Roe – “The Merry-Go-Round”
13. The Felice Brothers – “Run Chicken Run”
14. Villagers – “On A Sunlit Stage”

Interview: Johnny Flynn, Part 2

Johnny Flynn

In part 2 of our interview with Johnny Flynn, Timber and Steel talks to the singer about his writing process, the likelihood of an Australian tour with his full band The Sussex Wit and why Pete Roe shaved his beard. Read Part 1 here.

Timber and Steel: I just want to touch very quickly on the writing process. You’re a lyrics first person aren’t you?
Johnny Flynn:Usually yeah. Sometimes I’ll have been playing around with a melody or something and then realise I’ve got some words that will fit with that. But usually, yeah.
T&S: It’s funny that you are a lyrics person because I think it was your melodies which first hooked me as a fan to begin with. Do you do the sole writing on the music or are the band involved in that as well?
JF:I write the melodies for the songs. The band help a bit with their own parts. Sometimes I’m quite strict – I know what the cello line’s going to be or whatever.
T&S: I’ve noticed throughout your music that the same characters tend to pop up in the music a lot. Are they actual characters or are these songs about people from real life?
JF:They’re characters but I guess they have counterpart representatives in reality. Some of them I consciously set up as archetypes that I can put in different situations in different songs. It just seems sensible to work with people that I know and let that kind of develop and let them grow.
T&S: Probably one of my favourite songs on Been Listening is “Sweet William, Pt.2” and William’s a character that definitely pops up a lot in your music.
JF:Yeah, I have an idea of writing a series of songs about him, so there’ll probably be a few more.
T&S: So you’re obviously not spending a lot of time in Australia. You’re heading back to do a solo tour in the UK right?
JF:I’m going around and doing a solo tour of Ireland in September and then we’re going on tour with Mumford and Sons in October in the UK and I think we’re doing another tour in December with the full band.
T&S: We’d love to see you back here with the full band in future.
JF:That would definitely be something I’d like to do. I’m just waiting for someone to give us a chance really. But I’ll tell anyone that will listen that I’d like to come out with the band.
T&S: You do like to split your time between your music and your acting although your musical profile is on the increase at the moment. Do you think there’s going to come a point where you’re going to have to make a choice between the two?
JF: Not in an ultimate sense. The trouble is you can’t be in two places at once and both require quite a lot of time and dedication. You have to be auditioning for acting jobs and then you have to be available for the actual jobs themselves and you can’t really tour from that state. And vice versa – with music it takes quite a lot to launch a tour, things get planned a year in advance usually. They’re both pretty important to me so I wouldn’t ever really choose, I’d hope. For the last few years I haven’t really done much acting because there hasn’t been much time and I’ve decided to dedicate myself to getting the musical side of things off the ground.
T&S: We have seen you pop up in a few music videos here and there. I think Australian audiences would recognise you from “Coin Laundry”, the Lisa Mitchell video. Was Lisa someone you knew previously or was it just a matter of you auditioning?
JF:I didn’t know Lisa before at all. My friend Ness [Casswill] was the director and she just said to me one day “I’m doing this video for an Australian singer called Lisa Mitchell, would you like to come and be the boy?” and I was like “Yeah sure”, just helping out a friend. I didn’t know anything about her at all and Lisa was really sweet and we got on at the shoot and then bizarrely we were both supporting Mumford and Sons around Europe in April so that was kinda funny.
T&S: One question I’ve been meaning to ask which is not really about you: What’s the story behind Pete Roe shaving off halfway through Laura Marling’s gig at the Enmore?
JF:It’s just Pete being a funny guy. I don’t think he did it for a big laugh, I think it just occurred to him to have a shave so that’s what he did. I can’t really find another explanation. He’s just a sweet guy and fun to be around.
T&S: I think it obviously took Laura by surprise, and the audience as well.
JF:It was just a strange but wonderful, beautiful thing to do.
T&S: I want to thank you again for taking to time out to have a chat to us.
JF:It was a pleasure, thank you.
T&S: Hopefully if you come out again, especially if it’s with the full band, I’d love to sit down with you and have a longer chat.
JF:Yeah, that would be great. I think there are definitely plans to come out hopefully early next year. Maybe we’ll catch the summer next time.
T&S: Really appreciate your time.
JF:Thanks a lot.

Review Panel: Laura Marling, The Metro Theatre, Sydney

Laura Marling
Image Courtesy of marigae2008

Laura Marling supported by Johnny Flynn (solo) and Boy & Bear
2nd August, Metro Theatre

We’re going to try something a little different here at Timber and Steel. Given that three of our very talented writers were at Laura Marling’s Sydney Metro show this week and we were at a stalemate as to who would write the review we thought we’d share with you all three impressions of the show in our first ever “Panel Review”. And if it’s successful then maybe it’s something we’ll try again in future. So without further ado we give you our reviewers Evan Hughes, KTBell and Mackajay.

Evan: To say I’d been looking forward to this gig for sometime would be an understatement. Not only was it another chance to catch Laura Marling this year (I missed her Sydney Festival shows in January) but it was also going to be the first time seeing the wonderful Johnny Flynn, an artist I’d been avidly listening to since I downloaded A Larum early last year. Couple with this an appearance by the always solid Boy & Bear and this was going to be an absolutely cracking gig.

KTBell: Having only discovered Laura Marling in the last few months, and with Evan and Mackajay waxing lyrical about this girl, I bought a ticket without a second thought. At that time I may have listened to her album once, had never heard of Johnny Flynn and had heard one or two Boy & Bear tunes. Boy do I trust the opinions of these two!

Mackajay: Last time I saw Laura Marling was at the Factory Theatre two years ago, supported by an incredible, and largely unknown at the time, Marcus Mumford.  It was a lively, honest and unforgettable show and I was incredibly keen to hear some of Laura’s new material performed live.  I was however perhaps even a tad more excited to see Johnny Flynn for the first time on these shores (for full disclosure I am un-apologetically a huge fan of his recorded music)

Evan: We walked into the Metro just as Johnny Flynn was taking the stage for his first song. Sans his band The Sussex Wit, Flynn reminded me of a young Dylan, armed with just an acoustic guitar and that ageless voice. The crowd was surprisingly large and respectful to what was essentially an unknown, third billed support act responding to each song with whoops of encouragement and pretty meaty applause. Flynn made his way through a good cross section of his back catalogue including “The Wrote and the Writ”, “Been Listening” and “Tunnels”, stumbling once on his words (due to jet lag). Finishing with the wonderful “Tickle Me Pink” this reviewer at least wishes there’d been more than half an hour to his set (or even a headline gig elsewhere) although I’m glad I got the chance to see him.

KTBell: Let me start by saying – I won’t be surprised if Johnny Flynn becomes one of those artists who regularly has girls scream out “Marry Me, Johnny!” The epitome of the dashing young gent, complete with the charming demeanour and English accent, if looks alone are not enough, the sheer beauty of his voice will take you away to another world. For someone who claimed to be jet-lagged and still delivers such clear, strong vocals, I’d love to see him when he’s not jet-lagged! His style and performance lulled me, and the audience seemed also to appreciate his overwhelming talent. 

Mackajay: Johnny Flynn started his set with the wonderful “Lost and Found” from his new album Been Listening.  His handling of his trademark resonator guitar was accomplished as he wound his way through a very eclectic set-list that seemed to be formulated right there on the spot as he decided what to play. Vocally there was little to hint at the jet-lag he professed to have, although stumbling mid-song was a dead giveaway, and for another artist may not have been forgivable.  The larger-than-expected crowd was on Johnny’s side however, and were vocal, and seemed to know Johnny’s older music well – one girl next to me yelling ‘play “Leftovers”!’ at every opportunity.  Like Evan, I loved “Tickle Me Pick” but was less impressed by “Been listening”, which, shorn of it’s meaty guitar solo, didn’t seem to carry as much weight.  I really hope we can one day see a full Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit headline show here on our shores soon.

Evan: There’s a reason why Australia’s hardest working band Boy & Bear continually get tapped to play these support slots. They seem to treat every show as if it’s their own without ever coming across as arrogant. Being a five piece Boy & Bear’s sound is pretty big and definitely well suited to a venue the size of The Metro. The full audience was treated to every track off With Emperor Antarctica along with a couple of new songs (one of which lead singer Dave Hosking described as the band “going country”) and their now famous cover of Bon Iver’s “Flume”. It’s only a matter of time before Boy & Bear start headline venues like The Metro judging by the reaction of the audience – yet another solid effort by the guys.

KTBell: Having only seen Boy & Bear once before at a festival, in a cavernous hall, the Metro seemed a venue far more suited to their style. They are so at home on the stage and I, along with the rest of the audience I assume, felt so comfortable and intimate with them. In this setting, their performance truely enveloped the crowd, many were swept away with their performance, giggling along with their on stage banter and jokes about the tea towel shirt on Hosking and stomping, clapping and tapping along with so many now favourite songs. Hosking admitted that they had had a 6 week holiday recently, 2 weeks of which was set aside for them to write new songs since they were getting in trouble for having such short sets – a true sign that their popularity is growing in leaps and bounds. Their new stuff was as enjoyable as their old stuff, and we’ll even forgive them their country song, but the song that started it all, “The Storm”, was still my favourite and a real crowd pleaser. At the end of their set, I had to comment to our posse, that I just love that they are 5 men, playing instruments and still creating stunning harmonies. And none of these boy-band style harmonies, real delicate, subtle, closely aligned harmonies ever prevalent in older style and traditional folk music.

Mackajay: I’ve lost track of the times I’ve seen Boy and Bear, and their show is always rock solid.  Possibly it’s because I always seem to see them in support slots but I often feel that their songs tend to blend from one to another a little too easily, mainly because the instrumentation between the tracks  and the (excellent) harmonies tend to remain in a similar tonal range. I think it is no co-incidence that the tracks of theirs that tend to get the most radio play are the songs with the most dynamic changes, and these certainly stood out last night, and I would be lying if I (and the crowd) didn’t enjoy their performance.

Evan: The last time I saw Laura Marling she was a timid teenager playing to a curious post-Splendour crowd at Sydney’s Factory Theatre. Two years later and Marling has evolved into a confident, sweet performer who obviously has a genuine love for what she does and for her audience. Unlike last time Marling was joined by a full band including, for the nu-folk music nerds among us, Pete Roe on keyboards, electric guitar and harmonium and Marcus Mumford on mandolin and backing vocals (which is unlikely to be repeated every night of the tour given the competing schedules between Marling and Mumford and Sons).

KTBell: I may be committing blog-suicide here, but the only person I recognised walking out on to that stage was Marcus Mumford. My only image of Laura Marling was the cover of I Speak Because I Can, so forgive me for assuming she was a brunette. Once she opened her mouth, well, I was taken with her.

Mackajay: I think my good friends were a little afraid of what I might do if Laura played “Alas I Cannot Swim” considering how much I enjoyed it last time they played , When thinking back to the super-fast rendition that Marcus and Laura played at the Factory, I still get a warm glow.

Evan: Marling began her set with one of the best songs of the year “Devil’s Spoke” and then it only got better. Plundering most of her new album I Speak Because I Can as well as favourites from Alas I Cannot Swim Marling had the audience hanging on her every word and singing along with every chorus. Definite highlights throughout the night included “Ghosts” and “My Manic and I”.

KTBell: Laura took a lovely approach of introducing her band staggered between songs. She declared that it was to give her band members a taste of how awkward she feels when left to the microphone between songs. Amusingly, her band weren’t very talkative.  Laura’s self confessed awkwardness  actually translated as more of a laid back, latent humour in tune with her fans. She had the entire audience in fits of giggles throughout the evening, so we can only hope she no longer feels awkward and embraces the wonderful warm personality she conveys both in song and in the small talk. I also particularly enjoyed watching Pete Roe switch between instruments, and particularly loved the smooth flowing touch he took to the harmonium and hearing the resulting layer it adds to each song.

Mackajay: I was delighted to see Pete Roe, whom I recognised from his brief performance at the first Communion gig in Sydney, and also to see Marcus Mumford.  The fact that this group of artists want to play together at every opportunity they possibly can, even when they have their own hectic performance schedules gives each performance the feeling of a cosy jam-session.

Evan: The middle solo set to Marling’s performance saw her debut two new songs (maybe for her rumoured upcoming album?) as well as showcasing her unique voice backed solely by her acoustic guitar. After asking the audience to whistle the fiddle solo for “Night Terror” Marling added yet another string to her musical bow by out-whistling the 1,500 strong capacity crowd both through pursed lips and gritted teeth, gaining her a rapturous applause.

KTBell: You know a performer is good when the entire audience is silent. You know a performer is amazing when the audience stops even taking photos, to listen. Laura had us all transfixed and well in to her solo songs, I really noticed how still and focused the crowd was. We were hanging on her every word. Her new works were haunting and endearing at the same time and I look forward to listening to them again. One of the wonderful things I really connected with during her performance, which I hadn’t so strongly identified on the album (mixed playlists and ‘shuffle’ will do that) is her storytelling ability. Such strong narratives through many of her tunes are appreciated so much more live, with her personal accents and additions, stories and small talk around her set. It was also lovely to see how chuffed she was with us as an audience, as we sang along word for word, clear as a bell, she couldn’t help the wry grin spread across her face.

Mackajay: I was most pleasantly surprised by “Made by Maid”, whilst I like the album version, Laura’s brief intro of the backstory of the folk legend of The Babe in the Woods gave the story of the song a context that it hadn’t had for me before. In fact the acoustic songs that Laura played, including some new material, was confident and spellbinding.  There were many “pin-drop” moments where the audience were enthralled to the point of almost not breathing, before erupting into tumultuous applause at the end of each song, and some good-old-fashioned banter with the crowd – which Laura seemed to really enjoy.  (If anyone can remember the name of that second new song that Laura played and can help me out with the title, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for a recorded version, it was a cracker!)

Evan: Bizarrely when Marling’s band returned to the stage after her solo set Pete Roe had shaved off his 2 year old beard. The stunt was clearly not planned which set the audience off in a fit of laughter and threw Marling as she attempted to play the opening chords of her next song. She quickly regained her composure (although the quizzical looks towards Roe continued for the rest of the night) and finished out her performance just as she had begun – full of confidence and grace. Explaining to the audience that she didn’t do encores (“unless we turn into AC/DC”) Marling finished up with a boisterous version of “Alas I Cannot Swim” leaving the audience wanting more but ultimately thrilled with what was surely one of the best gigs of the year.

KTBell: Having admitted that she really likes playing to an Australian audience, along with the explanation of not playing encores (she was amused that the audience clapped that announcement and that that was the first time it had ever got a clap), it was testament to her performance and rapport with us, that between her second last and final songs, the crowd erupted into frenzied applause, whistling and screaming, demanding an encore. She smiled, a little perplexed and quite humbly thanked us, then proceeded to show her real thanks with an incredible and rousing finale. At the end of each set, I always wanted more but in a good way, a true sign of an incredible and engaging gig.

Mackajay: Laura: “Um did anyone else notice that Pete Roe suddenly hasn’t got a beard”
Pete: “It was the source of my power…. I had to sort it out”
Laura: (laughs) “It’s really rather a shame as I have to play a very serious song now”
As they launch into “I speak because I can” I’m left wondering what the heck happened backstage…

Pete Roe to Release New EP

Pete Roe
Image Courtesy of Pete Roe

Keen followers of the West London Folk Scene would recognise Pete Roe as a current member of Laura Marling’s touring band. Keen Sydney gig goers might recognise Pete Roe as the support act from Laura Marling’s sold out Sydney Festival shows and as the “surprise guest” at the inaugural Communion Sydney show in January this year (with Mumford and Sons as his backing band). Or keen supergroup fans might recognise Pete Roe as the piano player in the Keane-Killers-Mumford and Sons-Noah and the Whale collaboration Mt Desolation.

However you know him, or even if you don’t, there’s exciting news today that Pete is set to release an EP of 4 tracks on the 7th of June. The tracklisting is:

1. Bellina
2. Oh Susannah
3. Underneath The Apple Tree
4. The Merry-Go-Round

We’ll keep you posted with details if Pete comes back to Australia with Laura Marling and/or Mumford and Sons in August and does any shows of his own.

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