Lau – St George’s, Bristol

Thursday 21st February, 2019

Again, the intention wasn’t for this to take so long to write, sorry Lau. Migraines suck is all I can say by way of explanation.

How many more times can I tell you how beautiful and lovely St George’s is? How good it’s acoustics are? Every time I go perhaps! This was another flash sale purchase, making the ticket £11.25. Making music accessible, financially, is vital and I am really grateful to St George’s for understanding that.

I walked in, having worked all day in the NHS, to a banner at the back of the stage declaring “WE LOVE THE NHS” so I already had a soft spot for Lau. The stage was bedecked with interesting looking lighting and props that hinted that this wasn’t to be a  traditional folk gig. Lau were billed as experimental folk, hence why I bought a ticket, as I like both folk and experimental music. I stayed in my 3rd row side balcony seat for the first half and couldn’t see Aidan on the fiddle at all, but I could hear him and he sounded ace. As did Kris and Martin. And Agnes, who you really need to see to appreciate in full I think! (Agnes is not human is all I’m saying). This first half was pretty good, with songs from their previous albums.

It was in the second half where it all really came to life for me, however. I had snuck across the aisle to an empty front row seat in the balcony so that I could see as well as hear everything (this is one of the things I love about St George’s – they never tell you off for this, as long as the seat was empty they don’t mind). We were treated to the whole of Midnight and Closedown, their newest release. An album all about isolation in all its forms. It was beautiful in its melancholy and I was weeping at points. There were raw nerves touched with music, emotions not named but explored and I loved it. The genteel lighting and stagecraft added and enhanced, a touch of theatricality helped expose the truth of the music.

Someone asked me on twitter what experimental folk was, buy Lau’s album and hear it, is what I want to say. It is the marriage of traditional instruments like the fiddle, guitar and accordion with electronics and keyboards to produce harmonies of acoustic/electronic music as well as voice. It is ensuring the traditions of folk are not lost, but that they speak of today, as well as yesterday. It is Lau and their wonderful album, which I feel very lucky to have heard live in full.

I promised good words, I hope these suffice.



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