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Love Folk 2018

Venue: The Atkinson
Town: Southport
Date: 9-10/2/18

Fatea was proud to once again be the media sponsor for Love Folk Friday, Workshop & Busking, Studio & Theatre, Gallery

A disclaimer before I start my review. For three of the four years Love Folk has been going, Fatea has been the media sponsor of the festival. Specifically we have been involved in supporting Busk Love Folk, a free to attend afternoon of music in the lobby as well as providing a workshop to provide advice to upcoming and more established artists. Both of those events occur on the Saturday and more on them later.

In the four years that it has been running, Love Folk has established it's self as the opener of the festival season. Based in the magnificent Atkinson, a venue, that for me sets the standard for what a council run arts/community facility should aspire to be, the festival runs over a day and a half, starting off on Friday night.

The honour of kicking the festival off goes to Kadia, who had zigzagged their way up country from Dorset, skirting around the traffic, to be here.

A three piece, Kadia, are also the go to band when the regular presenter of Along The Tracks needs a night off and one that is really starting to make an impression outside of their local area, fuelled by both an album and EPs, the most recent of which saw them shortlisted for EP of the year at the Fatea Awards.

It would also be fair to say that whilst Kadia have been reaching further afield, this was the most northerly they had played to date. It has to be said that there were a few in the audience to whom the trio were an unknown quantity, well no more.

Kadia's set, a combination of self penned and traditional songs, really seemed to strike a chord. Whilst the coasts may have been different, both Southport and Dorset have an affinity with the sea and that seemed to endear them to the crowd.

The level of interactivity built during the set, as did the enthusiasm for the audience participation sections. Kadia had definitely made some new friends.

Following a short interval, it was time for an artist I consider to be the most innovative of his generation, Jim Moray.

Apparently it was Jim's first gig of the year, but definitely not one that involved having to blow any cobwebs away as he started very much in fine voice, accompanied just by a guitar.

During the course of his two sets he would switch between guitar and organ to drive the songs. One of the things that helps highlight, beyond his great voice, is the strength of the songs and the way he performs them.

It's not that he just writes great songs, it's also the way he interprets other peoples songs, be they contemporary or traditional. He brings a character to his material both when he's playing with other musicians or solo, like tonight.

There is always something special about a Jim Moray gig and tonight is no exception. In my experience, he is a consumate performer.

With a quick encore, the first night of Love Folk draws to a close. Jim Moray and before him Kadia have set a high bar.

All that remains to do is help Kadia lug their gear back to the hotel.

Neil King - Words, Pictures

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