What an evening's entertainment was enjoyed by those who took my advice (and lots and lots who had no idea that I'd given any advice) and bought tickets to see Gigspanner at The Maker with Rame Community Hall last night.
This is where I fumble for words and reach ridiculous levels of inarticulacy as I attempt to review what must have been the gig of the year in this neck of the woods. The three gentlemen of Gigspanner played an intimate concert for their friends, family and quite a few of us paying punters and it was a privilege to have experienced it.
Ok, so I'm a fan; you didn't really expect solid objectivity did you?
Let's start at the beginning: a small throng of us began the evening at The Rising Sun with an ale. I was very pleased to find that they have Heligan Honey back on as their guest beer. I was so pleased that I had two.
Pictured on the right (from L to R) are Mrs The Millbrooker, Keith. Sue, Anthony (I think that's his name; Tony Mann's son-in-law), Cousin Dave, EarMatt, Dozybean and Tony Mann. We were also joined by Paul & Frances, Shazzerooneypoos & Dong and Lynny & Richie "C-O" Meeson, but they arrived a bit later so missed out on being immortalised in this particular shot.
After a decent slurping of ale, we repaired to the gig venue as early as I could tear myself away from the Heligan Honey and secured seats as close to the front as we could get.
The gig itself was a stunning display of musicianship and friendly, relaxed performing from three master-craftsmen. It should really go without saying that Peter Knight's fiddle playing was expectedly fine; I heard one gig-goer say that the fiddle was "smokin' " so it's a good job the gig wasn't on this coming Sunday night or that would have been illegal. The man has a unique technique (there's some clumsy phrasing for you) on his chosen instrument, and often uses pizzicato to provide a staccato contrast to his more lyrical playing.
Roger Flack and Vincent Salzfaas support Peter's playing in a seamless display of musical artistry; the ensemble is obviously led by Mr K and his fiddling takes centre stage throughout most of the pieces but this in no way suggests that Messrs Flack & Salzfaas are just backing musicians. Roger Flack's guitaring is a delicate blend of fingering and more powerful rhythm playing; I believe I would be quoting an earlier review to call it "flawless", but that's what it is.
Vincent Salzfaas was suffering throughout the night with back-pain, but his playing was (to my ear) unaffected, the African influenced rhythms blending impressively with the often more traditional sounds from the fiddle and guitar.
The lack of a traditional bass player frees the band to explore more delicate phrasing and certainly doesn't detract from the more upbeat numbers which had Lynny and some others dancing in the aisles.
Probably my personal favourite was a number which Peter dedicated to his dad, an old Stephane Grappelli / Django Reinhardt piece, the name of which escapes me. Peter's playing was a joy to hear, and Roger held up Django's part with aplomb and rather more fingers than the late lamented Belgian gypsy. The rhythmic support of Vincent's percussion lifted the piece way above an ordinary cover version. Have you noticed how I've slipped into just using their first names? A tad presumptuous, but the whole evening was performed in a very matey way, and using the more accepted full names seems against the spirit of the thing somehow.
The gig ended, deservedly, with a standing ovation from many of the assembled throng and we made our weary way to the D&C for some late night and very ill-advised ale guzzling, several pounds lighter in the wallet after raiding the CD "retail opportunity".
The drinking and carousing went on deep into the early hours and drunkards' etiquette applies to everything that occurred after midnight, so there will be no embarrassing photos of stupid knob-heads who are old enough to know better and who got too pissed to keep their pints in a glass, let alone put up a cogent argument about governance and left wing economic theory against a concerted two pronged attack from the more right leaning Dong and Richie "C-O" Meeson:
Thank you to Gigspanner for a tremendous evening's entertainment. Thank you to Deborah for her warm welcome and for making some of the characters who appear in these postings feel like minor (genuine z-list) celebrities. We hope you'll come back soon.
There is a (small) complete photo set of the evening, just click on the "complete photo sets"link at the top right of the page. Click on any photo to get a larger image along with a caption or just hold your mouse pointer over the photo to read the whole caption.