Angie Palmer gig review Alnwick, UK 2009
Alnwick Playhouse, Northumberland.
Saturday 7th February 2009
Oh the joys of the British musical troubadour. Angie Palmer played in front of a packed capacity of 65 in a Temperance Hall in Cumbria the previous evening and then spent the whole day driving across the snow bound roads of Northern England to get to the pretty market town of Alnwick in Northumberland just in time for tonight’s gig in front of a half full theatre. Did this bother her? Not in the slightest.
Angie and the band arrived on stage spot on 7.30 and opened with ‘On the Eve’ which is also the opening track from her latest album, ‘MEANWHILE AS NIGHT FALLS.’
I like it when songwriters explain their stories behind the songs and Angie Palmer is very friendly and chatty; reminding me of Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin-Carpenter when she recounts her tales. Her description of the locals taking her to their heart when she visited Corsica for a folk festival in her introduction to ‘Deep Blue Sea’ added even more depth to an already beautiful song.
The first half was ended with two songs from a previous album; ‘Tales of Light and Darkness’; ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘Letters from home’, with both chugging along in classic Country fashion ably aided and abetted by Billy Buckley’s signature twangy Stratocaster.
By the time the audience had filed out of the main hall; Angie was already at the CD stall and spent the next 20 minutes chatting with fans and signing cd’s like a trouper.
Angie then opened the second half with ‘If I was’ which featured some of the most gorgeous Mandolin playing I’ve ever heard; from Richard Curran.
My favourite introduction of the evening was reserved for ‘Coming Home’. Angie explained that she’d been moved to tears the previous week when she’d heard the news that John Martyn had died and proceeded to tell us what an influence he’d had over her career and how she had even felt his presence when she was writing the song; which more than lived up to the preface and Billy’s soaring guitar and Richards’ mandolin and violin superbly complimented Angie’s gorgeous voice on this plaintive tale.
By now it was obvious that Angie and the band were enjoying themselves as much as the audience; especially when she recounted a review of ‘Hunting the Wolf’ as being ‘like Red Riding Hood; but with more sh*gging!” This had everyone in fits of giggles as the Revelators launched into some unadulterated Country Swamp Music with Billy and Richard creating some seriously eerie and atmospheric sounds around Angie’s sorrowful vocals.
The final song of the evening and her personal opus, ‘Weeping Wood’ will surely go down as one of the highlights of 2009 for all 100 or so people in the audience tonight and anyone else who hears it. Where do I start to describe something as ethereal as this song? Billy played a Gibson Les Paul and teased some amazingly spooky sounds out of it as Al on drums ‘pulled an assortment of shapes’ in the darkness at the back of the stage as he tub thumped as if his life depended on it. Ollie Collins adopted a 1,000 yard stare as he plucked and bowed his double bass like a threatening Weapon of Mass Destruction. Then there was Richard who finally got to let rip on his violin and wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Hot Club d’Paris as Angie sang her deep dark tale with passion and gusto to a background of swirling lights and shadows!
A cold Winters night was heartily warmed up by one of the UK’s finest Country bands. I for one can’t wait for their return in the Autumn.
Review orinially printed in Maverick Magazine www.maverick-country.com