We are proud to reveal our programme for Autumn/Winter 2022 as we continue to bring you monthly concerts featuring the best in folk, roots and acoustic music.
Kicking off the season in style will be homegrown four-piece ROAD NOT TAKEN, on Friday 16th September. They will be joined on the bill by BELLA GAFFNEY. They will be followed in October by JACOB & DRINKWATER, who will be the guests on Friday 21st, when FILKIN'S DRIFT will get the evening underway.
Highly-rated duo JANICE BURNS & JON DORAN will feature on Friday 18th November, along with singer-songwriter DAN WELTMAN, while the traditional Christmas concert will see a triumphant return for BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST as one of their final Christmas outings ever, on Friday 16th December. Bristol-based duo COOPER & TOLLER will join them on the bill.
All concerts will be held at Christ Church Downend, and tickets are on-sale now HERE. They are individually-priced but there is still a season-ticket option which saves you a little bit of money (and booking fees). We hope you’re as excited about this as we are! More exciting news coming soon…
It was an evening for bare feet, bare arms and baring souls. It was an evening for smiling, cheering and enthusiastic seat dancing. It was, for the third time (and very, very much delayed) an evening of INDIA ELECTRIC CO. at Downend Folk Club. And those are the best kind of evenings.
If there's one band that this folk club has taken to its heart then it is this one. Fantastic songs, wonderful musicians, and a huge dollop of joy; India Electric Co. are absolutely everything that makes the pilgrimage on the third Friday of the month so, so worthwhile.
Cole Stacey (guitar and vocals) and Joseph O'Keefe (accordion, keyboards, violin, loops and everything else) spend most of their time touring with Midge Ure and, from the moment that they start, it's obvious that playing with a giant of 80s music in big old theatres has done them no harm whatsoever. They are polished and slick, relaxed and warm and have a set packed full of oh-this-could-be-a-hits.
Delving through their impressive archive they first pull out shining baubles from the first album The Girl I Left Behind Me. Lost in Translation is, very simply, a great pop song. Toes are sent tapping before they even reach the chorus. Heimat continues all of the stadium pop feels and Joseph O'Keefe's violin floats a beautiful folk sheen across it. From the same album Beirut is all tango stamps and ruffled skirts. All three are superb but they're just the start.
Every now and then something a little closer to folk music pops its head up. The Gulley/Alice Gray are old, old tunes driven along by accordion and guitars. Even the tradition is no match for India Electric Co. though. These old songs still feel new, alive, vibrant.
Equally vibrant is a sublime cover of Chris Issak's Wicked Game. Out go the faint twangy Rockabilly overtones, in comes O'Keefe's beautifully sun-kissed violin. Why didn't the original have that on it? It's also a testament to just how good Cole Stacey's voice is that he entirely does this song justice. Another old favourite, The Thought Fox, is performed unamplified whilst strolling through the audience. Perfect acoustics helping the troubadours, more extraordinary violin playing conjuring a whisper of gypsy jazz.
The new songs that pepper the second half are mostly un-named, they are taken from a forthcoming album which currently isn't recorded. They do, however, point to further grown up, thinking person's pop. They are, without exception, gorgeous things that are destined for bigger stages than this one.
They are not the only ones, of course. Support for the evening came from SUSIE DOBSON. If India Electric Co. are favourites here-abouts so Susie is a proper homegrown talent. She's played here on numerous occasions but this is the first time for a while and she was welcomed back with open arms (ably assisted by Ant Miles on guitar). Her short set is remarkable; her voice is glorious, clear and pure, new songs are lovely and an expanding world view gives everything depth. She has charm by the hatful - The Girl in the Red Dungarees is just so sweet in a Kate Nash sort of a way- and is easily as good as any of the current folk-ish pop-ish singer songwriters.
Two huge Folk Club favourites on the warmest day of the year, who could ask for anything more? Barely anyone.
Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell
INDIA ELECTRIC CO. finally become the first artists in Downend Folk Club’s eight-year history to return for a third headline gig this month, such is their popularity with South Gloucestershire’s music-lovers.
The duo, comprising singer/guitarist Cole Stacey and multi-instrumentalist Joseph O’Keefe, were due to return just as Covid struck but now, with the date rearranged for a fourth time, they finally return to the area, this time in the magnificent surroundings of CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND.
India Electric Co. are perhaps best described as "a veritable musical magpie’s nest", (BBC Radio 3). Blending traditional instruments, folk melodies and subtle electronic influences, they’ve extensively toured throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, including UK shows at The London Palladium and Hammersmith Apollo. After live sessions with BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, Glastonbury Festival appearances and BBC Introducing’s backing they released The Gap in 2020 with Folk Radio UK declaring them "one of the truly pioneering acts in folk music".
Opening the evening’s entertainment will be another familiar face to the regulars... and indeed, a local face at that! Singer-songwriter SUSIE DOBSON, from Downend itself, took her first nervous steps as a performer on the Downend Folk Club stage as a fresh-faced teenager back in 2014. Now based partly in Cambridge, Susie happens to be around this month so the club quickly pounced to give her the opportunity to show her home crowd just how she’s grown as an artist. Susie will be joined on stage by our very own Chairman, multi-instrumentalist Ant Miles.
Tickets for the event, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 17th June 2022, are available online at HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Don't forget you can buy in advance with absolute confidence; if you are unable to make the concert because you test positive for Covid-19, you can transfer your ticket to any future concert at Downend Folk Club (terms & conditions apply, see ticket page). Tickets for all previous iterations of this concert remain valid, and you don't need to dig around for any information if you bought online... we have a list of every sale for each date, so your name will be enough to get you in. If you bought at Melanie's Kitchen you'll need to find your ticket. Because of the three reschedules, we've already sold well over 80 tickets for this concert, so don't delay in booking yours.
There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from the Hambrook-based HOP UNION BREWERY (formerly GWB). Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard/bucket, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of our drive to be more environmentally aware. There is a 50p discount for those bringing their own receptacles. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as the 'stealth raffle' which helps to fund the emerging artists that open each concert.
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