Posted by: Tony Tickle | December 2, 2010

Dar Williams and Hobopop @themet Bury: Review

Last night despite the freezing snow the crowd at The Met in Bury were treated to warming stories and songs from New Yorker Dar Williams.

A ‘Mr Kite Benefit’ Gig for Worlds Aids Day the attendance was not typical for this great singer songwriter who sold out @themet on her last visit. Dar was accompanied by a young piano/keyboard player Bryn Robert. In the past, it has just been Dar and her acoustic guitar — which is why it took me two songs to get used to the different sound…

Dar has a large back catalogue from which to choose… the set included lots of older favourites including “When I Was a Boy” “The Easy Way and “February” and a good sprinkling of newer songs “Buzzer” in particular… Dar is a talker, but a smart and interesting one. Each song is preceded by a (sometimes rambling) quirky story about its inspiration.

While Dar is a great guitarist, her strength is in her song writing and her fine clear voice that conveys such emotion. Her guitar playing seems mainly to be an accompaniment. By midway through her set, I was appreciating the fact that she’d added Bryn Robert as backup musician as it did add some variety of sound.

Meeting Dar after the show she kindly explaining ‘February’ to me… not the month! but the song… Interesting that others thought it was about the same thing as me… but its NOT!

Manchester favourites Hobopop opened the show for Dar and what a wonderful set it was… my favourite being ‘Sandman’ introduced after a weird tale of a German Sandman… strange! Twice nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Kirsty has been recording and touring to critical acclaim since her debut in 2002.

I first saw Kirsty supporting Capercaille at The Bridgewater way back in 2006 and she continues combining styles as diverse as folk, jazz, and Americana… Hobopops @twitter Profile describes themselves as : “making vaudebilly music for the new depression era” that’s one cool way of describing the great fusion they deliver.

Notable about Hobopop is the quality and clarity of the sound, every note and nuance of voice could be heard, Chris from @themet on sound was complimented by both artists. The Banjo is an device that in the wrong hands is an implement of torture… but in the hands of Mat Martin truly a versatile and rich instrument… even the titchy one, I like that too!

For you guys that had tickets and could not make it through the arctic conditions you missed an amazing night. For you that have never heard these wonderful artists you have no excuse follow @themet on twitter… you know it makes sense.


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