WARWICK FOLK FESTIVAL 2019 - A GALLERY
Here is a selection of my images from this years Warwick Folk Festival, many of them taken at fringe events around the town, this year as with last year a little dodging of the showers was required.
Fab to see Kristy Gallacher on such sparkling form while the "I Can't Believe It's Not Folk" songs of Elvis contest on the main site was fab.
Kristy Gallacher with Rob Halligan
In 1996 Elvis Costello held an event he called "A Case For Song" which was filmed for the BBC: collaborating with a range of other musicians but with great songs at the heart of the show. Well you could say that we had our own "Case for Song" at the Magic Lantern last night with two great local musicians who put all their art & skill into serving real, top quality songs: headliner Kristy Gallacher & support artist Rob Halligan.
The venue has been superbly served by support acts & tonight was yet another. Rob had kindly taken time out from his own "Wild Horses" tour at Kristy's request to play a customised selection of songs of his own & by others.
Voted as best unsigned artist of 2005, Rob had an indie chart hit with "Stand Together" and releases his own material, most recently the 2018 album ‘We All Write The Songs' (look out for a forthcoming review in "Hot Music Live"). He is acclaimed for his live performances & no wonder on last night's evidence: charismatic & engaging, he owned the space on his first visit. Between songs he told amusing stories, explained his songs & even told a few jokes (I promised him not to go too much into these as a rather credulous previous reviewer had solemnly recorded a quip about a non-existent job as being part of his biography). However it was his musical contribution which deserves most of our attention. Apart from a few covers which were sufficiently obscure that even the original artists were unknown to me (thanks Rob), the set was of idiosyncratic & perfectly crafted original songs performed with authentic emotions of great fervour: whether high energy or much tenderness. His excellent guitar playing (on the two instruments he brought, namely ‘Zac', a Moon Dog Auditorium & ‘Bartholemew', a Martin X Series Custom) ranged in appropriate style from highly rhythmic to delicately finger picked, as to serve each song properly. To name a couple of personal highlights: "We Listened to Ray" (an instant earworm) and the manifesto-like "Bigger Than That". Both are straight onto my personal current playlist: and indeed that of Temperance. In fact Kristy is on the latter (well both actually), as are all artists who play there who have Spotify releases.
You can find out more about Rob, his music & where he might be seen live (hopefully he'll be back at the Magic Lantern soon too) at his sites:
What does one say about Kristy which has not been said before? One of the most regarded of Coventry & Warwickshire musicians & of course a featured artist on our own "Hot Music Live Presents". Thanks Kristy. After a super busy personal period which included her wedding to Al (congratulations to both), Kristy has started a period of live performances: you can catch her at
May 8th Nursery Tavern
May 11th Coventry Food Festival (BBC Stage)
June 1st Motofest (Coventry)
June 6th Sofa Sessions Alcester
July 25th Warwick Folk Festival
August 17th Folly Fest (Napton)
Last night she was on her customary top form, entrancing the full house with a mixture of their favourite Kristy songs (e.g. "Quicksand", "Blood", "Fending Off The Frost"), classy covers (Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls & Steely Dan) & as is becoming a Magic Lantern hallmark with its appreciation & attentive audiences, new 2019 songs, so new that they didn't necessarily have names or settled names.
I've said before how privileged I can feel up close to scintillating artists in an intimate setting like this: you feel part of a special experience, almost as if receiving a private concert as the music flows round & through you. So it was on this occasion.
Kristy has honed three major strands of her considerable talent for over a decade now so it is no wonder how awesome she is (note to readers I have never actually used the word "awesome" in a review before as I find it over-used & robbed of any power it might have. I have held it back until now).
Her voice is captivating & I watched with great interest how most of her singing was extremely confidential, very close into the mic, yet leaning back occasionally to go to full power. This really does serve to create a close bond with her audience.
As for her guitar playing: Kristy is one of the very best players you'll see yet for some reason this is not something I hear said as much as I'd like. I mean who on earth would conceive of playing a cover by a band like Steely Dan whose songs are notoriously complex in structure and arrangement, on a single acoustic? Watching her intently from a few feet away, I was taken by the continual movement of her fingers: whatever the song's tempo, they flew around the fretboard, seldom forming the same shape, weaving a web of melodies & harmonies to her voice.
Finally, her writing is of the highest calibre: no doubt there are autobiographical or experiential sources in the mix, but there are leaps of imagination, landscapes from around the world & continual surprising uses of words seldom heard in the popular song. Like her restless playing, Kristy rarely uses repetitions in her words....
If you love "real" songs, lovingly crafted & beautifully played, you really are well advised to seek out either or both of these fine musicians. If there is a case to be made for the song, both made it most eloquently.
KRISTY GALLACHER AND ROB HALLIGAN AT TEMPERANCE
What a wonderful night of live music this was, a fine set by Rob Halligan followed by a wonderful performance by one of my favourite singer/songwriters all in the chilled out setting of Temperance in Leamington Spa.
Kristy treated us to originals including 'Quicksand' and 'Fending Off The Frost" and as a bonus a couple of brand new numbers, and a selection of covers by artists close to her heart by the likes of Tori Amos and the Indigo Girls.
An evening of top quality music in front of an attentive and appreciative audience.
A wonderful evening.
KRISTY GALLACHER - TEMPERANCE BAR, Friday 3rd May
Kristy Gallacher will be performing at Temperance, in Leamington on May 3rd with Rob Halligan & Lisa Nowak.
Have had the pleasure of seeing Kristy perform so many times over the years since our first encounter at the Catalan Restaurant during the Warwick Folk Festival of 2010 and I have remained a huge fan of her work to this day.
Have so many fond memories of seeing her perform at Warwick Folk Festivals over the years as well as performances at The Napton Festival, The Cambridge Rock Festival and The Leamington Peace Festival.
Also remember her set supporting Steve Walwyn during the All Saints' Art Festival in Leamington and many other local events while last year she did me the great honour of performing at my charity photo exhibition at The Oak House.
So looking forward to the 3rd of May and here my is look back back over the years of Kristy in action.
ROCK AND ROLL DREAMS CAME TRUE
INTRO AND MONEY RAISED INFO
Thanks all that went and or supported in any way a very special night for me celebrating my 11 years of live music photography at The Oak House Sports and Social on Wednesday 17th October and in the process raising money for two amazing charities.
I can announce that we raised in total at least £750 (this is without the closed collection boxes) and I will announce the final amount raised when the receipts come back, but so pleased that Zoe's Place and The Cinnamon Trust will each receive over £350 so thanks so much all.
Special Thank You's To
The Oak House and in particular Jeff & Sarah for the use of the function room and for looking after us on the night and with the set up.
My fab performers Kristy Gallacher, Steve Walwyn, Martin Cure and Sam Powell for their amazing sets.
My employers Presto Music who sponsored the exhibition.
Everyone who donated prizes to the raffle.
The Napton Music Festival Trust for their special donation to both charities.
My wife Julie for her constant support, helping to put together the prints and along with Clare Plumbley helping with the raffle.
Paul Englefield and Dave Atkinson for photographing for me on the night.
Justin and son for helping with set up and digital presentation.
& everyone else who helped in any way and of course all that came along and gave so generously.
While this exhibition does not mark the end of my gig photography/review work it does mark slowing down a little and cherry picking shows I cover, of course I will try and support my favourite artists (you know who you are) and events that have been so good to me over the years like The Napton Festival and Cropredy and support some local music charity events.
My semi retirement was of course short lived as the Friday after my big night I was covering one of the best gigs I have had the pleasure of attending when Wildwood Kin played The Zephyr Lounge in Leamington.
Reasons for cutting down are putting time into my dog photographic portrait project "Hounds and Visions" starting early next year, a couple of other possible potential photographic projects and as I found out trying to go through all of my gig photo folders for the exhibition (I failed!) I need to put some time into properly archiving 11 years of my little hobby, also as much as I love the live music stuff it is very time consuming and could do with more dog walks, nice meals out and more time with family (knees a bit dodgy as well!). I May also still put on the occasional small exhibition of my work with a charity angle so watch this space.
I have loved my 11 years of gig photography and reviewing which began when I took my camera along to the Leamington Peace Festival back in 2008 and have many highlights and fond memories including
Several shows in the pit photographing my beloved Marillion (and Mr. Fish) and Mostly Autumn.
Again in the photo pit finding myself a couple of feet away from my early musical heroes Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Biff Byford of Saxon.
Being invited to join rockers Voodoo Vegas while they were recording their debt album at the famous Rockfield Studios in Monmouth.
Wonderful memories of my years covering The Cambridge Rock Festival and The Napton Festival.
Having a beer with rockers Nazareth in their Assembly dressing room.
Meeting many musicians who have become good friends such as Kristy Gallagher, Steve Walwyn and many many more.
Thank you to everyone that has supported me over the years and said nice things about some of my work it has been a wonderful musical adventure, the photos are just a small selection of my 80 images exhibited on the night and at some point I will put a gallery of all 80 on my web site
Also there are a few of my shots of my wonderful musicians in action and yes I was taken the micky out of by several people for not being able to resist taking live music shots at my own exhibition - no hope really !.
I have also used a couple shots of myself by my photographers on the night, Paul Englefield and Dave Atkinson (thanks again guys).