Tim Carter, presenter of ‘Off the Beaten Track’ reviews Show of Hands live

Show of Hands at Yeovil Octagon Theatre Saturday 27th October, 2012

Amongst the many acts that populate the current and seemingly ever-expanding British folk scene, few are as reliably rewarding in the live context as Show of Hands. It would seem that this is a view shared by many, since every seat in the house was taken for the band’s performance at The Octagon Theatre this evening.

Unlike many live concerts, in which the support act offers a truncated set to an indifferent audience, Show of Hands consistently present their discerning followers with an act worthy of further investigation. On this occasion the Yeovil audience was treated to a highly entertaining duo comprising of Canadian musician, Leonard Podolak and his musical partner from the United States, Matt Gordon. This pair performed some endearing Appalachian Mountain music, complete with nifty footwork and rhythmic slapping of limbs on a sand strewn wooden platform. The audience was entreated to participate in the musical body slapping and it was an oddly amusing sight from my vantage point to see an entire audience gamely clap a sequence of limbs in unison. Each partner in this entertaining duo was equally engaging, performing either solo or with the other and established a warm, good humoured atmosphere for what was to follow.

Quite clearly Show of Hands have much confidence in their newly released album ‘Wake the Union’ a work that combines perspectives on challenging times, historical and contemporary, on both sides of the Atlantic. The set began with the album’s opening track ‘Haunt You’. The appeal of this song, like so many Steve Knightly compositions before it, owes much to the composer’s ability to set an evocative narrative within a rousing musical setting.  Other highlights of the set included another ‘Wake the Union’ stand-out: ‘Katrina’. In this song the horrors of the New Orleans’ hurricane are made vivid through an evocative musical arrangement and Knightley’s quietly insistent vocal.

Elsewhere in the set Phil Beer provided an arresting moment in his superb and darkly atmospheric rendition of Charles Causley’s ‘Innocents Song’ set to dramatic fiddle playing. The towering shadow of Show of Hands’ virtuoso  multi-instrumentalist on one wall of the Octagon Theatre provided a striking visual counterpoint to the song’s eerie lyrical content.  Of course, Show of Hands could scarcely perform at this venue without a rare outing for the track ‘Yeovil Town’, a grimly humorous yarn about a late night encounter in a chip shop with one of the town’s less than folk-friendly denizens. It’s not often that a band can play a song that urges the audience to “stay away” from the town in which it’s performing yet Show of Hands pulled it off with aplomb, bringing much mirth to the house as they did so. Amidst the excellent new material there remained time for the band to perform a number of the song’s on which the high esteem in which they are held is founded. These include ‘Roots’, ‘A.I.G’ and perhaps Show of Hands’ best loved number ‘Cousin Jack’, an elegiac yet impassioned song about mass emigration to foreign climes in the wake of the collapse of the Cornish mining industry.

Show of Hands remains the folk act most likely to win over even those most resolutely antipathetic to folk music, effortlessly dispelling any preconceptions as they do so. The quality of the song-writing and musicianship on display this evening provide ample reason why after twenty years they continue to go from strength to strength. Tim Carter

Tim Carter presents ‘Off the Beaten Track’ every Monday at 6pm on Somer Valley FM. The show can be listened to on-line at www.somervalleyfm.co.uk

See Artist web link for latest tour details: www.showofhands.co.uk

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The Sunshine Delay – KEEP IT TOGETHER

Since 2001, The Sunshine Delay have been winning admirers throughout the UK and the USA for their classy original songs, cohesive musicianship and a style that blends the best elements of Country, Roots and Power Pop.

KEEP IT TOGETHER is their superb second album, destined to gain the band even more success and a legion of new fans. The new release is a collection of eleven original songs where all band members have an input to song writing and musical arrangement. From the superbly anthemic opener, Last Generation To Die, to the acoustic folk influenced closer, The Angels’ Share; the listener hears a band at the top of their game. Standout tracks include Desperate Man, showing a distinct Stones/Faces strut and swagger, Slow Day For Love, a slice of heartfelt Americana and King Of The Small Town, which shows the band heading in a slightly more ‘indie’ direction, yet still keeping a commerciality in the song.

The Sunshine Delay comprises Paula McKee on vocals and guitar, David McKee on vocals and bass, guitarist Iain Barbour and, holding down the beat, Brendan O’Brien on all things percussive. Guest musicians on the album are George Stott on guitars and mandolin and the famed Ali Petrie on keyboards.

KEEP IT TOGETHER was recorded at The Depot in Edinburgh, where it was engineered and mixed by Gerry Boyle.

Release date – October 17th 2011 – Label – Wrong Train Records

Scotland’s finest alt-country roots rockers”

Americana UK

“…a band that deserves to go far in the unpredictable world of music”

Maverick magazine

“…it’s all about the music, great melodies, well-written lyrics beautifully presented. It’s a recipe that many would do well to emulate”

Net Rhythms

“The Sunshine Delay…hats off to them” Scotland on Sunday

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
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For more information and the latest tour news please visit www.sunshinedelay.com