Bandwagon noun (pl. bandwagons) 1. A large wagon used to carry a band of musicians in a parade.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Folky Fionn Regan

Fionn Regan at Islington Assembly Hall

I loiter in the long spindly queue of dimly clothed twenty-somethings outside Islington Assembly Hall.  Doors open, I grab a Red Stripe and perch on a radiator to the side of the hall. Latticed white panels overlaying grand urns of roses stretch alongside the proscenium arch. I begin to scorch my backside on the heated radiator pipes so slump down to the panelled wooden floor.

A gradual gush of people to the front is prompted by final on-stage checks from techies. And on comes the support for tonight, London based singer songwriter Annie Eve. Her curly locks fall beneath a dumpy grey beanie. A gorgeous double bass, slide guitar and ethereal backing vocals bring her first piece ‘December’s Ghost’ to life.

She announces the next song - ‘Kitten Meets World’ I hear her say. But I later find it’s ‘Kid Meets World’. Perhaps I can attribute this mishearing to learning earlier that my mate wants some new moggies. But as her set goes on I realise she lacks diction. Her use of dynamics is strong though and the bassist and guitarist bring a nice wedge of depth to the music.

Annie Eve & her talented band

I nibble some salt & vinegar crisps to tide me over until Fionn Regan arrives. This is a bit of a mistake – for the rest of the night I am craving a full-on fish and chips meal. Fionn steps on stage, harmonica in hand and opens with ‘Hey Rabbit’. “I just bought the harmonica today”, he reveals. “I think I was had. The only worse thing than badly played harmonica is well played harmonica”. His Irish words soothe me into numbness. That, and the third Red Stripe sliding down my gullet.

Next up is ‘The Bunkhouse’ with haunting lyrics ‘We watch them carry the coffin / From the house down to the river’. His emphasis of “silent” and “violent” in ‘At the gathering the whole room it fell silent / It heckled and grew violent’ generates a chilling echo in the room.

He follows on with ‘100 Acres of Sycamore’, ‘Put A Penny In The Slot’ and personal favourite ‘Dogwood Blossom’. As the set comes to an end I slink out of the hall into the cold night, tiptoeing over two lovers sunbathing in the darkness.


Photography by Sophie Ellis
Tuesday 5th March 2013
Islington Assembly Hall

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