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Matt Tighe & Tad Sargent

Venue: The Green Note
Town: Camden
Date: 07/01/19
Website: https://matttighefiddle.co.uk/

How many times do you have to do something before it becomes a tradition and is that process accelerated if it happens around the festive season? For the second year running my first gig of the year sees me heading to the Green Note in Camden to catch instrumental duo Matt Tighe and Tad Sargent. I say instrumental but as Tad seems to have added a couple of songs into the repertoire, maybe acoustic duo would be a better description.

This time last year, Fatea, was about to announce Matt Tighe's self-titled debut album as Instrumental Album Of The Year, this year, it was Matt's last gig where that was valid as the baton has now been passed onto Will Pound's 'Through The Season'.

There's something special about first gig of the year, especially when it's also an opportunity to catch up with friends for the first time in a while and hear what's been going on. There is nothing like great music to enhance that experience, particularly when a whole room hushes to give the performers maximum attention, only breaking silence for the regular rounds of applause.

Instrumentally Matt and Tad form a comparative unusual instrumental duo, playing fiddle and bouzouki respectively, with Tad now adding vocal for a solitary song per set and judging by the quality, I would be surprised to hear a couple more being added. That's not to detract from the playing in any sense at all, in terms of pace and dynamic, I really don't think I know a better pairing for both light and dark when it comes to the playing, but it does provide another variant and a different type of listening for those not so adroit in understanding all the nuances of traditional music. For me Tad's version of 'January Man' in the first set was a great choice.

Much of the material being played is still drawn from afore mentioned debut album, including a stripped by version of 'Kings' and 'Southall' which appeared in the first half of the set. For me the final song of the second set, 'Meantime' is very much becoming the duos signature tune, a really powerful piece of playing a cracking one to listen to. If it doesn't get at least one part of your body tapping away, there is something seriously wrong.

The Green Note adds to the welcoming atmosphere and is one of the few places where I'm happy to eat vegan, plus they are also brewing their own bottle conditioned ale to help wash it down. Musically this was a great start to the gigging year and if it's a portent of what's to come, it's a tradition I'll be proud to follow.

Words & Pics: Neil King

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