Well… Week 3 was good (if you don’t ask about the Range Rover… that’s a work in progress)!
I started the evening with my tame mechanic and chauffeur for the evening, Stu, popping in for a quick pint at the CrackleRock Brewery Tap Room, tucked away down a disconcerting alleyway in central Botley. CrackleRock have appeared over the last couple of years and I’ve never had a bad pint of anything they brew. I was drinking ‘Crafty Shag’ last night… a five percenter with a great hoppy aroma and subtle malty undertones. We then wandered over to the rather busy Brewery Bar. Standing room only. That was a good sign.
Electric Eden are, as their website puts it, ‘a three piece contemporary English folk band from Hampshire, producing a very earthy traditional sound with a modern approach to folk song writing’. There were three of them playing last night (although the website shows some photos with a fourth member). They were really getting the crowd going.
Now in my own band, Shantyhead, we play fast. We pride ourselves on being the inventors of ‘speed folk’. Motorhead invented speed metal, Shantyhead invented speed folk. But when you take Electric Eden into the equation, we’re bordering on lethargic! These guys know how to play! It really is something to behold!
They played a great mix, from traditional songs, Dubliners classics, to the more contemporary Mumford & Sons. Myself and Stu found ourselves perching on a table by one of the dartboards (they’ve got two, and an outdoor pool table), where we saw possibly the world’s first folk dancing darts match. At times, all players were dancing around the board, then they’d all stop, one would throw his darts, then dance to the board to retrieve them, and then the dancing would start again.
All the classics were played, to great appreciation. Eden’s rendition of ‘Seven Drunken Nights’ (yes, all seven… they didn’t chicken out at Friday…) was excellent. A cover of ‘The Galway Farmer’ by Show of Hands went down a storm, and the whole pub was singing to ‘Little Lion Man’. Or I thought the whole pub was singing. Until the opening bars of ‘Jolene’ were blasted through the building. Everyone – absolutely everyone – joined in the what can only be described as a raucous, yet enthusiastic, chorus.
They weren’t done there. Anyone who remembered the nineties with fondness joined in when they played the Rednex version of the trad song ‘Cotton Eye Joe’. Much bouncing around by all present.
Towards the end of the set, a great example of folk with beatboxing was presented, a great version of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ and a cover of Stereophonics’ ‘Dakota’, with audience participation – the crowd shouted out a genre and the band played a verse / chorus in that style. Reggae went down really well.
All in all, Electric Eden at the Brewery Bar was nothing short of a folk masterpiece. A great night provided by three guys who really know their stuff. It takes a bit to get me dancing, but this really hit the spot. If you see them advertised, you really ought to go… And give me a shout too…