Lichfield Arts welcomed two distinctly different bands from the Celtic rock tradition to play at Lichfield Guildhall, as part of their fourth Roots and Folk Festival when the Roving Crows and Something Nasty in the Woodshed appeared.
Roving Crows, led by guitarist and singer Paul O’Neil, Fiddle player Caitlin Barrett and Greg Wilson Copp on Trumpet provided fine three part harmonies during their highly musical, and polished set.
With a rhythm section of drums and bass they played music from the Celtic and folk side, but also played more exotic influences, from Klezmer to delicate chiming rock music.
They started with Nancy Valentine – one of their own songs – before a vastly different reading of the Penguin Café Orchestra’s Music for a Found Harmonium.
Other songs featured some fine playing from the award-winning Caitlin Barrett, in dovetailing solos with the trumpet and a surprisingly full rhythm section, while songs such as Roll on Tomorrow, Long time Dead and Love is the Finest Thing had something of the spirit of the Waterboys, and a similar sonic template to second era Dexys Midnight Runners.
The bagpipe and guitar fronted Something Nasty in the Woodshed offered a completely different flavour. They played a number of folk songs, from The Bonnie Ship and The Trawling Tread about life at sea, to the anti-war song Bring Home the Heroes and the narrative history song The Jacobites.
Cold Steel Cranes was a song about Scottish shipbuilding, while A for Angus was a spirited singalong number for the audience.
They were at their best playing the bagpipe music which started the set, or the medley of She Moved Through The Fair and Blood of Emeralds.
This was a fine rock band, who also played good traditional music and was a fine way for the second day of the Roots and Folk Festival to finish.