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Lindisfarne

The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes
Friday 14 April 2017

Put simply Lindisfarne were amazing. This was not, in the era of reformations or umpteenth significant anniversary tours, a cynical cash in or reformation, but the current line up in a band that through shifting members has been delighting audiences since 1968. The gig, like many on this tour was sold out, the band definitely not. The appreciative audience in a packed auditorium, was (ahem) senior, or is that just the Stables crowd. They were, or seemed to be Lindisfarne fans from back in the day, lots of comments along the lines of 'last saw them 44 years ago'. Nothing wrong with that or course, but it does suggest they need to take a lesson from Rod Clement's old friend and musical collaborator Michael Chapman and connect to the younger hipster audience. Hopefully word of mouth will get out, because the Band was incredible, playing a music that would wow any fans of rich, tuneful and melodic folk rock, country rock, rock and blues. Everybody played everything, only the drummer didn't pick up a guitar at some point. With three guitarists the arrangements were rich and record like, tracks like Lady Eleanor just came alive. The songs are in the shared folk DNA and would connect with any music fan, indeed Meet Me On The Corner was recently declared 4th most played folk song on Radio Two. Lady Eleanor and Fog On The Tyne are anthems and Winter Song is all over the ubiquitous Christmas compilation albums.

I'd forgotten what a sharp guitar player Rod Clements was, his slide was precise and edgy. Special mention must go to the presence that was Charlie Harcourt on electric guitar, with his emotional and tasteful licks throughout. Also essential listening was Dave Hull-Denholm on vocals, guitars and keyboards. His vocals were spot on and delivered every nuance of sadly missed original Lindisfarne vocalist Alan Hull's distinctive singing. Dave was the bands guitar roadie and gradually progressed from playing on a few numbers to band member in the early 90s after Hull passed away. Dave is married to Alan Hull's daughter. His love and feel for Alan's material was demonstrable. Superb gig, they played all the hits the classics and with three songwriters and vocalists, the band had a rich catalogue of material to draw on and a variety of voices. Go and see Lindisfarne for a musically rich and relaxed band who filled the room with music that was alive. The stage banter and the audience participation shows they are aware of their past, but are not trapped in it on a greatest hits nostalgia package tour as others are. 

Marc Higgins
Northern Sky