Sunday night Folk gigs at Bristol's Folk House are always special. When Gilmore and Roberts are playing though, the gigs are magical. With superb musicianship, complex harmonies and exquisite songwriting, these Folk powerhouses are exemplary live musicians. They performed their set in the Folk House cafe, which creates a cosy and intimate atmosphere. Tonight was their second tour promoting their fifth album, and I've just booked tickets to go and see them again.
At the start of their set- a magical musical experience
Folk House- Music Fan Mecca
Folk House, once home to a school, has become an Arts Centre which offers everything from Adult Crafts and Drawing courses to exhibitions and music gigs. It is a modest powerhouse of creativity, and the whole place thrums with artistic energy. Sunday night gigs are often Folk, Roots and Acoustic concerts, and always of a very high standard. With Bristol Folk Festival just around the corner, Folk House will be hosting many great performances over the Spring and Summer months.
Gilmore and Roberts were wonderful on stage this evening. They played an exhilarating mix of songs from their first four albums, along with several from their recently released album 'A Problem of our Kind'. They are one of those rare duos that can do equal justice to a barn-stomping traditional folk tune, but also a heartbreaking love song. With highly skilled musicianship and master storytelling, they weave emotive and inspiring stories into their music. This evening had it all, from a celebratory song about the infamous yet fascinating Dr James Barrie, to a song inspired by one woman's bravery at a recent Far Right Rally, captured in a photograph in the National press. Have a look and a listen below, to one of their wonderful songs:
Dulcet tones and divine Mandolin playing
The cosy cafe venue suited the violin and mandolin playing of Gilmore perfectly, and when she asked for some audience participation with singing, it felt like a very warm and special place. I saw her perform at Folk house two years ago, and I really hope that she and Mr Roberts will return to play again soon.
Roberts, with guitar
Jamie Roberts was a joy to watch. He uses and plays his guitar percussively, and has incredibly agile fingers. With his trademark Yorkshire accent and dry sense of humour, he creates an infectiously cheeky rapport with the audience, whispering verbal treasures like 'this one'll blow yer eyebrows off'.
By day the cafe doubles up as a book sharing space and a gallery.
One of the best things about Folk House is how tucked away and discreet it is. Going to a gig there feels like becoming part of a secret meeting or a congregation. Visitors only really know where it is by seeking it out, halfway down Park Street in Bristol. I urge you to do this as soon as possible!
To find Folk House, head for this building, then swoop down Park Street.