Concert Review – Peter Knight’s Gigspanner

Peter Knight’s Gigspanner – Lichfield Guildhall – Saturday April 20th 2019

Words by Ben Macnair

Photography by Dave Jones

Take one of the leading violinists of his generation, add in two talented supporting musicians, an open-minded approach to modern music making technology, and a musical knowledge that takes in everything from folk, to elements of jazz, atonality, and untethered improvisational abilities, and it is easy to see why Peter Knight’s Gigspanner have been a going concern for 10 years.
This tour, that supports the ensembles 10th anniversary saw the former Steeleye Span and Feast Of Fiddle member team up with long time musical collaborators guitarist Roger Flack and percussionist and bassist Vincent Salzfass to deliver exquisite music making, that blended everything from pure toned balladry to Appalachian music.

They started with the traditional Irish ballad She Moved Through The Fair, incorporating the melody into a number of different treatments and variations in tone and tempo, whilst the sea shanty Bold Riley allowed for some fine three-part harmony singing from the group. Hard Times of Old England was another traditional song that had a new treatment, whilst the set closer The Black-Bird took in elements of African tribal drumming, and acoustic guitar counterpoint to underline the flights of fancy that Peter Knight’s violin playing took.

The second half saw the same quality of musicianship, with The Bonny Bird, being a particular highlight, as was the Appalachian piece that featured the violin as both a musical and percussion instrument.

No two Gigspanner concerts are alike, with much improvisation shaping the concerts as they happen, but this was a great opportunity to see three musicians on their home environment, the stage.

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