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Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater + Steve Pledger

Venue: Cecil Sharp House
Town: London
Date: 2/3/16

I managed to catch Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater when they played St Pancras Old Church last year when they were primarily playing Ange's songs rather than new material as a duo. I missed them at Love Folk in February as I was working the Busk Love Folk stage at the same event, so this was my first real chance to catch up on what the duo are up to. That they were to be joined by another good singer-songwriter, Steve Pledger, was very much a bonus.

The trio of musicians were at Cecil Sharp house as part of an EFDSS bursary that saw them trying to create songs out of the daily news that week. It meant that one of the songs we heard was literally a few hours old, but you wouldn't have been able to tell, such was the quality of both performance and writing.

The new duo of Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater dominated proceedings, being occasionally joined by Steve Pledger, rather than Steve delivering a more conventional support slot, the process worked well.

It was definitely a night for new music, Ange & Lukas have obviously been working hard getting a repertoire together and judging by the mix of traditional and contemporary songs, political, emotional and people songs they seem to have decided that this is going to be a duo without limits, check out their debut single, "By The Tides" a song about the refugee crisis, to get a sense of what they are about and where their hearts lie.

Sound was provided by a decidedly under the weather Rob Swan, fighting a valiant battle against coughing at inopportune moments, a battle he ultimately won, ensuring no distractions from the excellent songs coming from the stage.

It was definitely a night in which songs were the definite winner. Both as a duo and occasional trio, across two sets they delivered songs that not only entertained, but also made you think. There were a couple of points where you felt that a piece was still a work in process, but that was because it was and this was a chance to get in under the skin and explore.

There's still a few more dates to catch, including a full band gig at The Convent, one Fatea award winner playing at a Fatea award winning venue, but be very aware, Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater are very much a folk duo which will be going places. As will Steve Pledger who has a series of dates in May.

Neil King

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