Canopy Theatre, Hungate – Saturday 28 April 2018

An intimate indoor mini – festival with great sound and a good vibe

A miserable day outside was forgotten by those inside the Canopy Theatre for an almost ten hour show. A warm and enthusiastic audience were treated to 7 acts in a venue with great acoustics that had never been used for this type of music before.


First up were the Burkitt Family Band from the Bawdsey peninsula (or at least ¾ of them, as daughter Eliza was called upon at short notice to take part in a string quartet recital). However, anyone who did not know that would have been none the wiser as they re-arranged their well - chosen songs (from Leonard Cohen to the Handsome Family via traditional folk) to suit the reduced line up of guitar, flute and cello seamlessly.



Closing the first session were Honey & The Bear (Lucy Sampson & Jon Hart) on a wide array of instruments including guitar, double bass, banjo, ukulele and percussion. This fast rising folk/Americana duo produced a lively and varied set of original songs many of which are destined to appear on their debut CD later this year. The audience lapped it up – including my 10 month old granddaughter Cecily, attending her first ever live gig; she was totally entranced, bouncing up and down, smiling and waving throughout the 60 minute set.


Opening up the second session were popular husband and wife duo, Penny and Stuart Mack who treated the audience to a laid back, melodic set of original songs plus a few choice covers (including that well known “traditional” Sting song “Fields of Gold”). All were presented with warm anecdotes about the songs’ origins, touring days in Germany with Suffolk singer/songwriter John Ward (who made his first record in partnership with Stuart) and great singing and playing. I even joined them for one number, playing Dumbek on Penny’s great anti-ivory poaching song, “Muchanta”.


Rounding off the late afternoon session were Alden, Patterson and Dashwood, the fine Norwich based Folk/Americana trio who are one of the most in-demand acts on the acoustic circuit. The sound in the auditorium (courtesy of Jon Hart who did a brilliant job all day) really suited their wonderful 3 part harmonies. This gig was part of their tour to promote their second home produced and released album “By The Night” which is destined to become a great favourite like their debut “Call Me Home” , chosen as his album of the year by editor of froots magazine, Ian Anderson. A wonderful set with a well-earned, totally acoustic, encore.

The evening session kicked off with singer/songwriter Joseph Parsons, a native of Philadelphia with over 20 commercially released albums to his name on the famous Blue Rose label. The stripped down versions of songs from their usual full band treatments came over well. He is touring the UK with the next act, Glasgow’s Doghouse Roses who won the audience over with Iona Macdonald’s powerful and expressive vocals and Paul Tasker’s great guitar playing and singing. They delivered a strong set of original songs from their 3 albums. Joseph Parsons joined them at the end of the set for a couple of rousing encores.