Review: The Old Dance School @ Lichfield Guildhall

A fast rising band continued Lichfield Arts practice of bringing promising bands to play at the Guildhall, when The Old Dance School appeared as part of the association’s folk season.

The six piece band, made up of former music students from the Birmingham Conservatoire played songs and instrumentals taken mostly from their soon to be released new album, Forecast, as well as a number of other pieces from their previous work Based on a True Story.

With influences ranging across folk, to ambient music, classical music, even elements of jazz and dissonance, this was not really a concert for the Arran Sweater and fingers in the ear crowd. As well as the traditional fiddles, recorders, whistles and guitar, the group also featured double bass, trumpet and flugelhorn, and clever use of live looped and sampled sounds.

The four melody instruments of trumpet player Aaron Diaz, whistle and recorder player Laura Carter, and violinists Samantha Norman and Helen Lancaster were ably supported by the guitar of Robin Beatty, percussionist Tom Chapman on cajon, and cymbals, and double bass player Adam Jarvis.

They started the two hour performance with The Envelope, whilst other pieces included the slow aires Lewis and Rosemann Bridge, whilst more experimental pieces included Wen and The Enlli Light with looped guitars and woodwind adding new sounds to the mix.

Wire over the River, Passage to Spike Island, Amber and The Taxidermist were upbeat, tuneful pieces, while John Ball was the only song in the set to feature the singing of Laura Carter and able vocal support from the rest of the group.

Although most of the band are composers, they finished the set with Spaghetti Panic by the accordionist Andy Cutting, and an encore of The Broken Pledge showed the group’s talent perfectly.

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