Beware the Silk Leylines!
Nice little triple-header gigs like this are a real treat – particularly since fate conspired against me making it to the Hairy Dog (or rather, my energy levels did!) to see Ferocious Dog the night before as I’d originally planned. A blast down the M42 and M40 takes you to Banbury from my house in a little over an hour, a small inconvenience stacked up against a free gig at The Wheatsheaf – a splendid traditional pub nestling in the town.
We arrived pretty early really, catching up with assorted folk in the venue rather than venturing forth to find what was probably a very drunken gathering of folk who’d been in Banbury since the night before. A local character who introduced himself as ‘Hat Man’ was a particular highlight whilst nattering with Hannah and Dan outside. In the venue we could hear strains of the first act soundchecking which boded very well for the gig – since we already knew the remaining two would be ace.
So Beware This Boy were up first – a traditional folk rock sound infused with fiddle to accompany the guitar, bass, drums and vocals also present. Hailing from Oxford, I really enjoyed the set. Singer Simon wasn’t big on telling us song names, although he did a few times (and I’ve derived a few more from the CD I bought from them after the set), the first song names were a mystery but Won’t Care came in at three.
Up for the Fight was next, lamenting the media – the instrumentation is reminiscent of Eddi Reader’s Patience of Angels in some ways (but with quite a bit more bite!). Title track from the album Life featured, a new song which was a nervy moment for them apparently – not that it showed to us – it sounded great! They finished up their set with Time of Year, Giants, and finally Heading West (or ‘Eddie Moist’ as Ella heard it!)
A really engaging performance – I love it when a new band to me puts in a set like that, it’s a real bonus!
Next up were the very familiar band that is The Silk Road. A similar theme, with a bit more oomph – a nice progression! They snarled into action with No Revolution and straight into I Don’t Care. I’d had a quick chat with Tich before they got underway – a new album is in the offing from them which I’m really excited about getting hold of. Back to the gig Breaking Down The Laws, and then Still Breathing.
A switch to an acoustic guitar for Tich and the moving Scars that Remain was next. Straight back to the electric for the raucous The Ancient Road, charting the dodgy antics of drug dealers – this went straight into the instrumental Montague’s Harrier which he kindly dedicated to me owing to my love of ornithology – how lovely! Master Race was next, a scathing indictment on how human’s treat the world they live in – and need to survive.
A new song Find a Cure sounded good to me – an anti-racism potential future anthem, which led into the very familiar Boats Come in at Midnight, returning to cartel-based drug trafficking themes. During this song I’d found a use for a Leylines keyring (as I was stood by the merch desk with Ella and Pete), namely hanging it from my beard! The final track was dedicated to drummer Brian and Leylines singer Steve – both of whom who’ve served in the forces, City Under Siege is a pull-no-punches judgement upon those in power who inflict wars upon the world.
The Silk Road really are going from strength to strength – at times from my vantage point the sound mix sounded a little heavy on the top end, but nonetheless it was a great set. That album promises to be a real treat in the making.
Then it was time for The Leylines – they kicked in with Let It Go and a more family-friendly directive from Steve to ‘Let’s ‘ave it’ rather than the more customary ‘Let’s fucking ‘ave it!’ that he normally goes for. His subsequent between-song banter wasn’t lacking in swearing though, haha! The Reasons was next and straight into My Own Worst Enemy – I think that is currently my favourite Leylines song.
Addie was singled out for Save Your Soul – he looked stoically dry-eyed throughout as the crowd swayed around him. New song Standing by the Waterside was next – bodes well for the new album, then it was into Stone Circle which featured a bit of mass ‘Clakkaing’ in the mosh pit. You’ve Changed was next – about that member of the family nobody really likes, rather harshly everyone pointed at Clakka in the run up to this. I’m sure that’s not true!
All that We’ve Got ran into Sorry My Friends – Steve and Hannah in particular had had quite a run of gigs in recent days and both said they were feeling tired, it certainly didn’t show once they hit the stage, a typically energetic performance from everyone! Unusually they threw in their cover of Levellers’ Fifteen Years and dedicated it to Addie and Jane for their work toward the monumentally successful Bostin’ Days 2 event (which I hear the total raised is due to be announced soon).
After this a raffle draw took place – Mark had got a bundle of CDs and vinyl together and sold tickets throughout the evening to raise money to go towards the Something Else events – Hannah drew the tickets, and a couple of gentlemen claimed the prizes which had a bonus Leylines CD thrown in too. If you are familiar with the Something Else festivals or the Tea Tent that makes its way to other festivals then you might want to contribute to their crowd-funding event, they are a little under a third of the way to hitting their target as I type.
Another newish song was next, Long Way From Home certainly resonates with me as someone who travels reasonably long distances for gigs quite often, we were quickly winding down towards the end with Gotta Get Out of Here, and then Ella was summoned to the stage to help with the backing vocals for Run for Cover (despite being adamant she wasn’t going up!), and finally the set proper finished up with anthemic For Queen and Country – maybe that one is my favourite Leylines song.
As they finished an encore was loudly demanded – and duly provided with an epic singalong of Sat in a Field. An awesome set to finish up a trio of great performances. We made a round of goodbyes (and probably missed folk out – sorry!) before hitting the road, I got Ella round to Simon so they could head south whilst I headed north (via a mediocre kebab shop) – the roads were mercifully clear getting me home in great time, hence writing a blog at this time instead of waiting ’til morning.
Tomorrow I’m off up to The Black Market Venue to play a gig (and also watch some other awesome acts). Fun stuff!