Big Session provides an absolutely goldmine of folktasticness

Big Session 2009 review

published: Tue 30th Jun 2009

Edward II

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
£70 for the whole weekend, child 5-15 £25
last updated: Wed 10th Jun 2009

Saturday dawns and its still more sun than cloud - yay! The words 'Folk Festival Poetry' stereotypically would fill most people with dread and, so to we're off to risk the Beatroute Comedy Hour in the Orange Tree tent. Luckily both Jason Finn and Steve Carroll were sparky, warm and accessible. Mark Goodwin however came up to stereotype - poetry it may have been but performance it was not. Oh, and as for compere Mombowie Starchild, that's not your real name and buy a decent bra for heavens' sake. Honestly, young people today.

Otis Gibbs
The next few hours are an absolutely goldmine of folktasticness. The wonderful Otis Gibbs is in fine form with his back to basics, good ol' boy blues. Looking like Daniel Kitson's dad, his songs cover the holy trinity of blues themes - love, death, and the importance of trade union membership. The folksy chat between songs is also terrific fun; to make comparisons with Seasick Steve would be obvious and lazy. Anyway, he's a bit like Seasick Steve but for my money the greater talent.

Diana Jones is a Nashville-based singer songwriter, and favourite of Bob Harris, which is rarely a bad thing. She captivated a relatively small audience indoors with her achingly beautiful voice and songs of loss and loss. An utterly charming set and surely a name to watch.


The Ceilidh
I received many recommendations to see Baskery. Unfortunately they were all from men and ran along the lines of "They're Swedish and they're sisters. Who cares what the music's like?". What charming boys. I opted instead for some pre-Ceilidh refreshment in the sunshine.

I miss Eliza Carthy to throw myself around the ceilidh in the Big Top. The Oyster Ceilidh Band provide the music and caller Gordon Potts does his usual sterling job of marshall the expert, the novice and the slightly drunk into order. As the ceilidh comes to a close, something rather strange and wonderful happens.

Edward II
Somehow, the techs have devised a method whereby the next band - the legendary Edward II - take over from the Oysters without the music stopping. Yes, you read that right, man by man the second band replace the first without a beat being missed. I've no idea how (or for that matter why) they did it but it was damned clever.

Deciding between Edward II and Billy Bragg was a tough call and I ended up seeing a bit of both which was probably a mistake. Both attracted fearsomely loyal fans so unsurprisingly each went down a storm.
review by: Katharine Owen

photos by: Phil Bull

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
£70 for the whole weekend, child 5-15 £25
last updated: Wed 10th Jun 2009


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