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Feast of Fiddles Review
Photographer Steve Stoddart’s recent blog.
Check out his website www.wandering-river.co.uk
How many times have you heard sayings like “Strange how things turn out”?
A few months back, Annya and I attended our first concert at the Apex. The band we were to see was Feast of Fiddles and right from the off, they grabbed your senses.. Their music spanned rock, folk and other genres and was crafted superbly to suit fiddle, guitar, sax, clarinet, keyboards and last but no means least, the melodeon.
There were faces in the line-up that were familiar.. One in particular struck a chord with a memory that was well shrouded by time.. Only when Hugh Crabtree, the founder (and “boss” as he is described on the band’s website) introduced a solo spot to be performed by Peter Knight, was the memory bowled forward – Steeleye Span. Then I managed to associate names to other faces in the line-up..
Well, I had already found Feast of Fiddles a great band to follow but seeing musicians such as Peter Knight, Brian McNeill, Phil Beer and others, notched up my appreciation a couple more levels.
During the interval, I was surprised to see the band was enjoying a drink in the bar with the audience. I found the courage to strike up a conversation with one of the Fiddle players – Garry Blakeley. It soon became apparent we had something in common. Garry lives in Hastings and the town was part of my old stamping ground while I was living in Sussex. Much nattering about the area and then before I could chicken out, I brought up the subject of photographing the band. Garry suggested I contacted Hugh Crabtree and ask – the worst that could happen is he could say no.
So I did… and the ‘Man from Delmonte’ said yes :D
The band were due to perform at The Cut in Halesworth on October 28th. That meant a busy 10-day period: Friday 19th will be a long day working Long Melford with the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra then a drive up to Cumbria, back on the 26th and the gig on the 28th. “London Busses” I cry – but with a HUGE smile on my face.
The 28th October rolls around and while I was there to photograph the band, my attention would occasionally turn to the audience; the players could bring the house down one minute and hold the audience in quiet awe the next – particularly during the solo spots. These were a master stroke. Each of the players had their own style of play and having their time in the limelight allowed it to come to the fore. It was great to experience it and from the perspective of someone recording the event, it was no less remarkable to see how the audience responded to the band during the gig. It was an odd experience – to be around the audience but not part of it.
As for the music itself, any comments are inevitably subjective. Suffice to say I was there to work but strewth, I’d have to be a cold, cold fish not to be wrapped up by some of the melodies they played.
It was great to have the ‘nod’ to use the images for my portfolio. Even better, that some can be found here on the Feast of Fiddles website. So if you have seen them, I hope you have enjoyed them – better still if you have seen or are about to see the band live :)