Coven – St George’s, Bristol

Wednesday 6th March, 2019

Coven were formed for International Women’s Day 2015 so for once writing this a couple of days late seems  appropriate. Feminist folk music; of course I was going to go to this gig.

To get a folk Coven you add Lady Maisery to O’Hooley & Tidow and add Grace Petrie. Stir well and enjoy the results.

I’ve wanted to see Lady Maisery live for AGES but the times they’ve played Bristol I’ve not been able to make. Having seen Grace live before I knew she would be worth showing up for. O’Hooley & Tidow were new to me, but in this company I felt confident that I would like them and I did.

I cannot tell you how ruddy fantastic it was to see 6 women up there on the stage. Not a man to spoil the view! They performed all together and in their own combinations, passing the baton between them, having equal time to show off their individual styles and blending together brilliantly.

O’Hooley & Tidow bought the humour with witty, pointed songs about fabulous women from history, Beryl sounds like a top lass, and Gentleman Jack a right sort. I wish I could get to Downend Folk Club to hear them, but alas it is sold out. Lady Maisery play more trad folk, with gorgeous harmonies and instrumentation. I am rather pleased that they will be playing Bristol Folk Festival in May so that I’ll get to see them again. Grace raised the roof with her passionate, political, protest songs from the heart. When all 6 of them combined the sound was pretty awesome. Beautifully blended and harmonised vocals covered This Woman’s Work and Woman In Space (fitting as it was Valentina Tereshkova’s birthday – now there is a nerdy feminist fact for you).

As a demonstration of how varied folk is a genre, and how bloody wonderful women can be when they work together, this was unparalleled. There were different styles of folk and a range of emotions but it all worked. What held it together was the warmth and affection between the musicians. The respect they hold each other in was evident. This is most definitely a coven I want to be a part of.







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