The Albion Band – March 2012

9/10

Worthing Assembly Hall

Friday 9th March 2012

This was an excellent set from a completely new incarnation of this folk band. Quite a lot of Worthing people seemed to think they had something better to do this Friday evening – their loss. The lineup boasted an impressive array of talent, including Blair Dunlop, son of the original founder Ashley Hutchings, Katriona Gilmore, Gavin Davenport, Tim Yates, Benjamin Trott and Tom Wright. They filled the hall with a great sound – there were the usual balance problems with the first couple of numbers, but by the third they were well into their stride and created a great atmosphere despite the small audience. Their humour shone through in the introductions, which were shared among the band, and even in the rock musician poses they struck occasionally.

Tom, the drummer, was also the band historian, telling us about the songs from their back catalogue, most of which the band had never sung before, and some of those on stage hadn’t even been born when the band recorded them – bit like watching an episode of Doctor Who at times! But it did give them a wide repertoire to choose from, and tonight’s set included all the tracks on the new album, The Vice Of The People, beginning with Roll Over Vaughan Williams, a Richard Thompson song There was lots of heavy guitar, so I couldn’t hear the words very well. The second number was Coalville by Katriona Gilmore, a lovely song about young people leaving the old industrial places.

This was a good start, and the rest of the album followed pretty much in order, with some additional numbers from earlier incarnations. They included Faces on the album, a Nik Kershaw number, and I wondered if this was a new trend? June Tabor and the Oysterband also included a Nik Kershaw number in their recent set at Chichester; they’re great songs, though both Steve and I reckon the folk versions are much better than the originals. There were a couple of songs based on nursery rhymes, written by Gavin Davenport – Thieves Song and How Many Miles To Babylon? – and with the other original numbers this band looks like it can make a major contribution to folk music for many years to come.

Thankfully there were no injuries after their daredevil leaps from the stage at the end of the first half, so we were treated to an excellent second half, finishing off the album with a few extra songs as well. I liked them all, and my subconscious especially liked Adieu To Old England, which I can’t stop humming! One More Day was easy to sing along to, which is probably why they chose it as the audience participation number, and I think Wake a Little Wiser was the encore.

It was a great show, and we’ll look out for this band again. (And those of us at the gig were able to buy the album pre-release – yay!)

Check out the website: http://www.thealbionband.com/

© 2012 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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