Thursday, October 01, 2009

Syd Arthur + Circulus

Circulus poster

What a great evening! This made up for trekking down to Folkestone to see Cocos Lovers (again) the night before (with their friend Liam on bass, filling in for Bill who's studying up in Norwich) and then having to run for the last train while they were still tuning up...

Unfortunately I missed start of the Syd Arthur set. The place was already full and they'd started early to get a decently long set in. Despite the slighly murky OSMC sound (Liam's vocals in particular), their playing was wonderful. Just keeps getting better. I wish they'd play more, locally, but I understand that they're spending a lot of time in their studio these days (looking forward to the results of that!) There were some nicely stretched out versions of familar pieces, as well as some really promising new material. Raven delivered an absolutely staggering fiddle solo in the midst of one new, long, complex piece. Their Ethio groove influences were subtly in evidence, too. Some serious musical fluidity going on with this band. More of that, please!

Some of the many members of Circulus were rather late, so someone with an acoustic guitar filled in - rather sensitive material that got lost in the Saturday night babble - it's a shame SA couldn't have stayed on and played an extra 45 minutes. Oh well.

[(06/10/09) Here's some compensation - Joel's just sent me a link to a recording of their joint performance of Soft Machine's "Facelift" with members of The Quartet, also at Orange Street, in early May. Sadly, I missed that gig, but it got filmed. The video file was too big, so it's just an audio clip with a still image - check it out here].

Syd Arthur + The Quartet, Orange Street 01/05/09
Syd Arthur + The Quartet, Orange Street 01/05/09

Circulus took me a while to "get", but once they played a rollicking folk-rock stomp version of an Elizabethan tune and got everyone jumping, it was wonderfully enjoyable. There's something Gong-like in their overall vibe. Silly costumes. Songs about flying saucers. An overwhelming sense of good intent. Holly-Jane doing a Gilli Smyth kind of thing with her stratospheric vocals. The pieces tended to be either rocking versions of Elizabethan (or earlier?) tunes...I think I recognised at least one Breton tune...or straight-up psychedelia. One of the latter, "Within You is the Sun", was just breathtaking. We got an appropriately silly cover of Wild Thing (with crumhorn, cittern, etc.) to finish: "Canterbury...I think I love you!". I think Canterbury loved them too.


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