Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Lost in the Wilds ... O. Reader's Adventures with ....

A gig too far

A final word from Scotland.

Our trip to a folk festival finally came to an end, and amongst the singers who sang, we saw Amy who has featured on these blogs in the past. As I have connections with her family, I made sure I saw her two performances.

Amongst the mishaps of the ten days, our extended party  all got dressed up to visit a place called Aberfeldy for a religious meeting, only to find that the congregants had all pushed off to a semi-annual conference that weekend. So we spent the day as uncomfortable tourists in the area, somewhat “improperly dressed.” But it ultimately led to us visiting what I can only call a gig too far.

There was an advertisement on the wall for the Aberfeldy Festival. Attending the Perthshire Amber festival we had nothing booked for this final Saturday night, and hey – there was Karine Polwart. My daughter had seen her when she first went solo at the Cambridge folk festival, and today she is very well-known as a singer songwriter. Look her up on Wikipedia. Mrs O sings one of her songs “Follow the Heron Home” which has become a sort of standard in folk clubs today.

So we booked.

The problem turned out to be that a festival may have a folk artist as headliner, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is that kind of festival.

As we soon found out when we turned up. The pleasant lady at the door asked if we wanted to leave our coats in the coat check room? No thanks – we would stick them on the back of our chairs. Chairs – what chairs? This venue didn’t actually have unreserved seating – more like unreserved standing.

I have been told by my daughter that many concerts are standing only. The problem was – this was nothing like a folk concert. The first two acts reminded me of punk bands from 20-30 years ago. The drummer did a nice impersonation of Animal from the Muppets, and the lead singer with his Adolf Hitler moustache, and musical looping box made loud discordant sounds while shrieking unintelligible words. The audience, ourselves included, were sort of crammed shoulder to shoulder, jigging up and down in a kind of unison – a rather difficult feat to accomplish successfully when you have an overfull glass of beer in your hand. At one point the vocalist looked like he was going to launch himself into a spot of crowd surfing – memories of Jack Black in School of Rock going splat on the floor.

Mrs O and I (by far the oldest people in the building) eventually worked our way to the edge of the fray, and sat down in a heap on the floor. The dance floor pulsated under our bottoms with the beat, as we leant back on the wall against a radiator which supplied a comforting heat. Then - all of a sudden, through the scrum came two ministering angels, two very pleasant ladies with concerned faces, carrying chairs. Would we like a seat? How sweet. How nice. As they disappeared, my daughter (still standing) said – do you know who that was? Karine Polwart and another band member. She must have seen us from behind the curtains and worked out that we had to be part of her core audience, rather than being there for the supporting acts. So – KARINE POLWART BROUGHT OCCASIONAL A CHAIR. How kind. My daughter Facebooked her with thanks after the gig, and got a nice reply.

As for Karine – how on earth she got booked for this gig, who knows. She introduced herself as feeling like the spotty kid at school who finds herself invited to the wrong party... But she did her stuff. And the audience went all quiet, and morphed into an attentive crowd who gently swayed and sang along with the choruses. It was quite a transformation. It was nice that the good people of Aberfeldy had such eclectic tastes.

Even if Occasional didn’t.

As a Pixie addenda: http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2014/11/amy-goddard-burn-glow/


  1. Amuse bouche1:13 AM

    Have I got this right?
    You were in a moosh pit wearing a coat and suit? !!!!!!!!
    Were small animals slaughtered on stage? Was there projectile vomiting?
    So glad sks provided chairs (would have loved to have heard the conversation: 'Look at those poor old passed-out people etc' 'I think one of them is looking for a grave')
    Such a shame that no-one in your party loved you enough to be with you! My heart bleeds...

  2. An occasional reader2:34 AM

    Amuse bouche - you will really have to get those reading glasses changed - I had a suit on when we booked the previous Sunday, but went sort of casual to the actual gig. Coats were needed, however, because it seems it rains in Scotland almost as much as it rains in Wales. Yours pedantically, OR

  3. Anonymous2:57 AM

    What with the escalator experience and now this, you seem to have spent most of the time in Scotland on your back, on the floor.

    Still, when in Scotland, do as the Scots do!

    (How else would the nation acquire knobbly knees?)

  4. For me, watching the "animal" would have been worth the trip. I couldn't go through an entire concert without sitting down. Fortunately you had literally the best seats in the house. Bravo.