In 2007, going to a show in the Strathclyde Suite used to fill me with dread. The acts were great, but the sound was often terrible. Well, half of that has changed – the sound was excellent. The acts are still great.
Opening the show was the 2009 Danny Award winner, Anarkali, an Irish band based out of Glasgow named after their favorite restaurant. Johnny Canning (fiddle/flute/whistle) is the current All-Ireland Fiddle Champion. Sarah Parker (fiddle, vocals) Martin Hunter (Button Box, whistle) Peter Webster (guitar/flute/vocals) and Danny Boyle (Flute, whistle, vocals) all played up a storm, giving the full house a set of lively music and entertaining banter. Alas, after all that fun, there was no CD to bring back to share with KZYX&Z listeners.
Next up, Guidewires with concertina player Pádraig Rynne, Breton Sylvain Barou on Flute, Tóla Custy on fiddle, Paul McSherry on guitar and Karol Lynch on Bouzouki. How can you not love a band that plays tunes called “Everyone Fancies Helen Mirren” and “Lunchtime Boredom?” Guidewire kept the energy level up for their entire set, and that might be my only quibble. A couple of slower-paced tunes would help the audience catch its breath and savor the band’s Middle Eastern and Balkan influences. As it was, the enjoyable set all ran together for me. The audience loved them, whooping and cheering, more demonstrative than usual for a Glasgow crowd. Perhaps, if it wasn’t my luck to be a magnet for serial talkers, the band’s nuances would have been more perceptible. [That’s what you get for sitting in the back. -TB]