Jan 212014

By Andrew Watson

Cellar 35 played host to the Festival of Politics fundraiser in lieu of the impending independence referendum.

Though primarily an acoustic act setup, there was enough variety to keep the audience interested. The only condition was that each act had to, aptly enough, display political material in their sets. This posed little problem throughout.

First up was Clype and his keyboard. This was a good showcase of traditional piano, rather than of a synthesised basis.

The set was mixed with sometimes contemporary lyrics, though one number was an adapted version of a poem written by a woman during World War II.

Peter McConville was next.  He mixed singing with his guitar, workmen songs a cappella and sea shanties. This was somewhat reminiscent of Pete Seeger, the folk activist I has previously discovered via Bruce Springsteen.

Jamie Rodden followed.  Almost forgoing current affairs material, he had a minor issue remembering his three year old political ditty. However, he outdid himself with some intense and forceful acoustic playing, done with the voice of a heart throb.

Dandy and the Ghost followed after, and she raised transgender plights throughout.  Perhaps not the most accomplished guitarist she made up for this in spades, with expertly written lyrics and good delivery.  What caught my ear the most was that many of her verses were structured and phrased like a rapper would navigate a drum machine.

Mark Ayling, reminded me of Paul Weller but was probably more like Billy Bragg. Talk amongst the crowd considered him more akin to Frank Turner, though I can’t possibly say because I’ve barely any idea who he is!

Fred Wilkinson and the Gallopin’ Buntys, the main support act, were a curious looking bunch and sounded just as unique. This was in part due to the fact that they had a violinist in their ranks to give their punk rock a folky flavour.

Headliners Curios Orange didn’t seem to have been together for too long, and although the same could maybe be said for the aforementioned support, the latter didn’t get away with it. To be fair Curious Orange, personnel wise, are a lot younger; and when they got it right they were good mix of grunge and alternative rock.

Bar a little hiccup in the running order of the night’s proceedings, all ran relatively well. Apparently whoever was meant to be onstage at 21:00 was working until 22:00.

A good night!

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