Southern Tenant Folk Union

Venue: The Lighthouse
Town: Poole
Date: 28/1/15

I really like the Studio at Poole Lighthouse, not only is it a really intimate venue, it's got great sound and great views of the stage. Over the years, I've seen some really cracking gigs here, I just wish it was used more often and for the life off me, I can't work out why it isn't, maybe the Lighthouse and local promoters should have a meeting.

One of the really great gigs I saw was Southern Tenant Folk Union so when I saw they were back as part of "The Chuck Norris Project" tour, it was a definite no brainer, especially as I'd already made the album album of the week on my radio show a few weeks before.

As with the previous visit, STFU played two sets with a short interval between the two. Naturally the focus was on the new album, but also a chance to visit their growing back catalogue. The performance and it is a performance, is delivered around a central microphone, that each individual set is effectively mixed around, it's dynamic stuff and does mean every set is different from everything that precedes it.

Whilst all songs in "The Chuck Norris Project" are named after films starring the rather unique right wing actor, the content of the songs leans very much more to the left, often criticising lack of gun control and media exploitation for a right wing agenda. On a stage, away from the comfort of your usual listening environment, the material sounds darker and more hard hitting, particularly when Pat, the leader of STFU, gives you some of the background in how the songs came to be written.

The Studio is packed and once again the Dorset audience is not only responsive, but respectful as well, it means to you get to hear the whole song and the band doesn't get unexpected feedback in a different space. The do a version of a WB Yeates poem, but once STFU have give the poem their interpretation, you could almost believe the WB stands for Western Bluegrass.

Live, STFU are an impressive band, that use of the central microphone and band members moving in and out makes a great combination and gives you that something extra. As per usual the band finish with a completely acoustic number resplendent in audience participation and everyone walked away with cheery smiles on their faces, great night? Oh yes.

Words and pictures Neil King

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