Everything about the performance style exudes likeability and warmth. The atmosphere in the room was lovely - the air was thick with goodwill. Part of the charm is how incredibly comfortable the band are with their instruments, each other and on stage. It sounds like such an obvious thing, but so many performances - even from quite well established groups, not just kids putting on their first pub gig - don’t seem like they want to be there. But audiences need eye contact, and jokes, as well as the music. Fairport are brilliant at this. It’s lovely to watch people properly own a stage. Support from Keiran Goss was also nicely delivered. The links between songs were particularly amusing - halfway to stand up really.
Fairport celebrate their 45 year anniversary this year. That is an impressive whack of time in anyone’s book. The way the history of the band is treated as a rich seam to draw on is lovely - I especially liked the fact that no attempt is made to make the songs sound like they did when they were recorded 40 years ago - it’s made very clear that these are interpretations of the songs, not intended to be exactly the same, because the band shifts. It feels pleasingly organic.
It’s difficult to find anything to say about a band as significant and respected as Fairport Convention. I mean, they’re brilliant. Of course they are. You knew that. You don’t need me to tell you about the quality of musicianship, or the songwriting. But what I can say is, the show was joyful, moving and gorgeous. I walked out liking them more than I did when I walked in. And I already really liked them.