REVIEW: Folk on the Pier Friday and what’s to come this weekend

Folk rocker John Jones is not the sort of singer to stick a finger in his ear as he belts out one of anthemic classics with Oysterband.

Folk rocker John Jones is not the sort of singer to stick a finger in his ear as he belts out one of anthemic classics with Oysterband.

But it was an ear infection which cast doubts on the group's performance last night to close the first day of Cromer's 14th Folk on the Pier festival.

However some timely local medical attention saved the day and Jones – along with the rest of Oysterband – was in excellent form to bring the evening concert to a triumphant conclusion.

Crowd pleasers including By Northern Light and the group's moving cover of New Order's Love Vigilantes had the audience on a high.

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The band's own Rise Above seemed a bit flat by contrast but a beefed-up version of the traditional folksong Blackwaterside proved a highlight for many.

Stepping in front of all the theatre mikes Oysterband brought the concert to a fine conclusion with an acoustic rendition of their politically-charged anthem All That Way For This.

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And if you missed them, Oysterband appear on Jools Holland's BBC2 Later show on Tuesday, with an extended repeat on Friday, with folk diva June Tabor following their triple success in the recent BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with their collaborative album Ragged Kingdom.

Friday's afternoon and evening concerts yet again featured a good balance of acts playing traditional and/or contemporary material.

Regular Cromer visitor Harvey Andrews was a highlight for many with his very personal songs, 'new' acts the Urban Folk Quartet and Fifteen String Trio won many fresh fans and folk blues singer-guitarist Wizz Jones proved the enduring appeal of quality veteran performers.

If you have left it too late to get concert tickets for today or Sunday the festival includes a host of non-ticket events at various venues around the town.

A highlight for 'traddy' fans will be a concert in The Cottage, Louden Road, Cromer, on Sunday from 11am in memory of the town's ex-lifeboat coxswain Richard Davies – also a talented Norfolk step dancer.

The concert will include step dancing by members of his family, and others, as well as music and song with a strong traditional bias.


Brian Gaudet

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