Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fiddlers, Bristol

After a gap of about 10 years (where did the time go?) a welcome return to my favourite Bristol venue, the excellent Fiddlers club down in Bedminster, still run by the avuncular Joe Cleary & his son Dan, and apparently unchanged apart from a new monster PA suspended from the ceiling above the stage - woo hoo! Last time here was as support for the Oysterband I think, but tonight was a triple-header with old mates The Dolmen, a terrific pagan folk band from down on the South coast, and the John E Vistic Experience from Bristol.
The Dolmen kicked proceedings off in fine style - since I last saw them they've had a few line-up changes and are now much harder edged than before, but still with their infectious sense of fun that has the crowd up & dancing straightaway. They've also got a very good blonde bass player who, as was pointed out to me on several occasions, is much prettier than me... honestly, I brushed my beard especially, what more do people expect?
John E Vistic started their set with a couple of quiet, introspective songs, then gradually increased the pace - great, driving songs with a voice that put me in mind of Tom Waits or a young Johnny Cash. And he's not putting it on, either - he sounds like that offstage as well!
By now, time was starting to run away with us somewhat... in fact it had blindfolded us, bundled us in the boot of a car and driven us out to the middle of nowhere. By the time we took to the stage it was 12.30, and waayyy past our bedtime, but the hardcore had stuck around and we had a blast. Nice to catch up with so many people we hadn't seen in ages too, especially Ally our old sound engineer, and old mate Rick.
Only fly in the ointment for me was that at some point in the evening my wheezing old amp coughed it's guts out & died. A minutes silence seems appropriate, broken only by snaps, crackles, pops & ominous fizzing noises...

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