Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes at CVFolk

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Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes at CVFolk


It's always uplifting: morally, emotionally & physically to witness a Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes' gig (I was sufficiently rendered inarticulate by the power of their music to have to come up with the term "upcheering" when I spoke with them afterwards: probably not a real word but it conveyed something at the time I hope) and last night at the Albany Theatre for the regular monthly CVFolk concert (supported by Julie Neale & Jamie Scott) was not an exception.

 Setwise, I caught them between albums: debut "Fabric of a Flawed Society" was released a year ago (I continue to thank them for launching it on the afternoon of a lot of monarchist malarkey and hence giving me a very positive distraction) and a lot of new material has recently been written (much at a writing retreat) for planned sharing over the next year or more.

This was my first live show of theirs to feature James Richmond on guitar (not to be confused, as I was, by his predecessor Jamie Thompson who played on the superb, standalone "We Are The Monsters" single back last Hallowe'en) so what with an evolved lineup & setlist, this was an evening of vulpine development.

Their DNA has not changed at all though: they see society as being as flawed as it was a year ago & can identify plenty of monsters within it.

They sink their teeth into these issues with glee & gusto and in accordance with how I described them on first hearing, they affect our hearts & minds but also our feet to the extent that they get transported by their own songs: band members are in constant onstage motion and at times reach dervish level in the manner of the likes of The Pogues or Gogol Bordello.

The height of this is a furious version of the single "Watching You" where the "folk" element gets taken up into the punk ethos so angry are they.

Tracks like this are primeval in tapping into the deep roots of the human condition: true folk music based upon the most enduring of passions & experiences, but all contextualised to our times. It's gigs like this which again and again remind me that the "folk" I like is the meaningful & renewed, deployed as a weapon against contemporary societal flaws & monsters & not some sacred canon to which blinkered purists deny new admissions.

If defiance is a huge aspect of Odd Fox philosophy then so is affirmation: these people wish to make society better again & their performances are as celebratory as they are radical.

That said, they succeed because they are superb musicians & can pull off deft & subtle playing at high tempo and on the move: they positively delight at playing off each other too. I doubt if they approve of stereotyping so it's not fair of me to categorise all their songs as being polemical: the very affecting "Time to Go Home" certainly fits into a completely different category. This one explores the parent/child love and as others palpably concern that love which exists within communities, the relative absence of conventional romantic love songs is of little relevance: even if Liam did speak to me wondering if he'd end up writing one: does it matter? The Odd Foxes are very good at this thing of theirs & it gives them an individuality which is paying off as their reputation continues to grow & spread.

They finished with a song examining the 4,000 weeks of the "average" lifespan and rang the changes as James switched to acoustic guitar, drummer Diz to bodhran and Liam to shruti box leaving Rebecca (whose solo set at The Tin we reviewed only last week) & Matt alone on the instruments they'd played all gig: violin and bass. This one kind of summed up the reflective side of what they have to say: less fury and more mindful contemplation on our world and place within it.

Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes are a stunning phenomenon in closed spaces such as the Albany Theatre. It's hard to think of a group better suited to festival performances so if you organise one or know someone who does, best get them booked sooner rather than later. Their reputation is growing and spreading and will reach that tipping point (and I was delighted that their fellow "Hot Music Live Presents" featured musicians Izzie Derry and Dolly Mavies only this week were announced for Glastonbury 2024) when they break out of the exclusively local scene.

Next month at CVFolk's event, HMLP featured artist Katherine Abbott will be playing, (freshly returned from her US tour) which is something I'm already looking forwards to.

Look out too for Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes on the CVFolk Stage (in the Upper Precinct) at Coventry Motofest on Saturday 1st June at 1605

Until then, "Tally Ho!" to the Odd Foxes.

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