Variety, energy and excitement
Jamie Smith's Mabon
THE start of this highly anticipated set by much talked-about Jamie Smith's Mabon was held up for a few minutes so that they could be presented with their trophy for winning the Best Instrumental Album category in the annual Spiral Earth Folk Awards.
No one would doubt that the Welsh five-piece were worthy recipients after this set which was dominated by frenetic, multi-layered instrumentals that were all traditional in flavour but actually composed by the accordion-playing frontman Jamie Smith. Almost every tune drew inspiration from the traditional dance music of the Celtic nations, although some influence of music from a lot further afield was also discernible. There were bits of Klezmer, Baltic music, jazz, funk and a lot more, all incredibly tightly arranged and played with skill and loads of energy.
Jamie Smith's fingers raced across the accordion keyboard at blistering speed, Oliver Wilson-Dixon's violin playing was sensational, the bouzouki player showed that he was more than capable of matching them for pace and the electric bass guitar and drums gave it all a folk-rock feel.
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By the middle of the second number the almost capacity main hall crowd was clapping along and people were dancing in the aisle.
An hour of mostly instrumental folk might have palled but there was so much variety, energy and excitement that your interest level was never in danger of slipping and the huge roar of approval and standing ovation at the end were well deserved.