And now for something completely different…Candela. It was time to get cultural in the beautiful surroundings of the Williamson Tunnels. I arrived with friends just as The Good Host were tuning up. Having drunk the complimentary bubbly from what looked like a test tube, my friends and I took our place near to the stage. The Good Host were an interesting proposition, with just enough of a strange, melodramatic tinge to their music to intrigue. Their mellow, quirky vibe was an audience pleaser and it was nice to see cello, flute and clarinet making a musical contribution to the overall output. Songs like ‘I Should Be Asleep’ showcased the atmospheric, heartfelt vocals produced by the singer Jason Baxter. The music at times seemed to have an Irish tilt, both folksy and spooky at the same time. A real crowd pleaser.
The Science of the Lamps did two sets during the evening to a crowded house. Their fine, mellow lady vocalists bringing their particular magic to the stage. This felt like a homecoming, an event for all ages, with a distinct aura of love for the band and their music permeating the venue. Did I say band? With more than a hint of Victorian burlesque about their performance, their off-beat folk-rock with hints of the blues is a little hard to pin down. This is more a collaboration, an experiment, a fluid stream of inspiration and influences than just a band. They bring a great deal to the table and the audience certainly lapped it up. Throw in a hint of choral influence and you have an intriguing, quirky mix.
Between the two sets by Science of the Lamps, we were treated to an accomplished and extremely funny set by some members of The Spooky Men’s Choral, masquerading as A Fistful of Spooks. The group began the set by performing a piece on the stairs in the bar area, which gradually stopped all the bar-room chatter and brought the crowd to full, foot-tapping attention. Decamping to the main stage, the choral group gave an entertaining performance, which gave the audience as much cause for merriment as it caused them to move to the rhythmic vocal entertainment. The cover of ‘Dancing Queen’ caused much amusement, although to emphasise the humorous element too far would be to ignore the fine choral music the group produced. A definite quality component of the overall high quality feel to the evening.
Thus ended my busy Saturday. Something for everyone? I didn’t even come close to scratching the surface of the entertainment on offer. Again, another diverse and eclectic evening. Anyone who thinks the North West is a cultural wasteland has obviously never been there.