Review: Fleetwood Cave @ Lichfield Guildhall

With perfectly balanced voices and instrumental virtuosity, the new duo of Marian Fleetwood and Greg Cave played a set of folk songs and their own original pieces to a very appreciative audience when they appeared at Lichfield Guildhall as part of their debut tour.

Fleetwood Cave

Fleetwood Cave

Best known as supporting musicians in other groups such as Trad Arr, The Gigantics, Colvin Quarmby, Feast of Fiddles, Gigspanner and Little Johnny England, they took naturally to being the centre of attention, playing songs from their former bands, their solo albums and new duets they hadn’t played before.

Since performing their first gigs in January they have developed an ease of repartee, with styles that both blended well together and also provide a lot of contrast, with Marion Fleetwood’s voice and violin playing being particularly noteworthy.

The set ranged from traditional folk songs, to Motorhead, Led Zeppelin and Blind Willie Johnson, disparate sources that sounded equally good in the hands of these two performers.

The Rose and the Lily started the set, a traditional piece sung with pathos and layered guitars to provide a backing that was both sympathetic, but at times also jarring with the sentiments of the song, while the Greg Cave song Old England Grown New took old words and gave them new life.

The duo paid tribute to the late lamented Lemmy with Hurry on Sundown, while the transportation ballad of Roll on Gently was a showcase in melodic violin playing.

The second half featured the traditional ballad Silver Dagger, before the Bonnie Lass of Anglesey was given a bluesgrass groove and allowed for some of the best violin playing of the night.

The Curve of My Back looked at the life and musicians that a mandolin could have had and Spencer The Rover, which has been covered by any number of performers, was given a stripped back, almost abstract backing, that fitted with the lyrics perfectly.

An encore of Blind Willie Johnson’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine included the haunting vocal refrain of the original, with the heavy riffing of Led Zeppelin’s more recent cover.

This was a fine concert from two seasoned performers with much still to offer.