Concert Review – Sheelanagig at Lichfield Guildhall

Concert Review – Sheelanagig at Lichfield Guildhall – 13th November 2016

Review by Ben Macnair with photos by Dave Jones

The Bristol based baroque and roll ensemble Sheelanagig bought their lively and boisterous music to an appreciative audience when they appeared at Lichfield Guildhall as part of their tour to promote their latest release Beard Town.

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The group, led by the charismatic violinist and composer Eric Catlow had a look that blended steam-punk and Peaky Blinders, and a live stage that projected fun and a good time, as well as impressively musical ability. With a backline of drums, double bass and guitar, they played music that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. From gentle, lilting celtic music, to blues, jazz, and some fine unison playing on violin and whistles that would many of the top orchestral players to shame.

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The first half featured long form instrumentals, as well as the bluesy The Manc Monk, Lost in Transitvania, which included some fine banjo playing, and Chat D’Orange which started as French chanson music, went through a transistion to klezmer and ended in yet another genre and time signature.

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The second half was just as jam-packed, and featured Beard-Town a song about the hirsute and dapper men of Bristol, and the celtic tinged Shetlag, which started as a slow irish air for solo guitar, and flute, before the drums, bass and fiddle took the piece in a new direction.

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A Sheelanagig gig is not a gig for purists. They put all types of music from folk, blues, jazz, rock rhythms and sounds, boisterous punk over-tones and a lively performance style, but if you are looking for a group of musicians to play new forms of music for you, and to keep you entertained for an evening, then they are the band for you.

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