Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplin

From L to R - Fats Kaplin, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane

Last night’s show of the above artists at New Capers was fantastically good. We had a table right in front of the stage so my impressions of this venue – to which I have not been before - are positive. I was expecting it to be rather posher than it actually was. It had a pleasant laid-back atmosphere, though the tables and chairs were jam packed, making it hard to move around, if you were unfortunate enough to be seated at the back.

I first saw these artists, or at least Kieran and Kevin way back in 1999 at the Continental, where I was blown away by the show. They sat on stage and alternated with playing and singing their own original songs, with vocal and musical support being provided by the other member of the duo. A live CD was produced from this show called 11/12/13: Live from Melbourne, Australia, which is a good introduction to the work of these artists.

They have returned to Australia many times since and I have generally taken the opportunity to go and see them.

The expanded band format of this current tour serves to enhance the talents of the pair. Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch are consummate songwriters and masterful musicians, particularly Kieran who plays mandolin, banjo and guitar with exquisite artistry. Kevin has a wonderful warm and whiskey toned voice, but he generally sticks to playing guitar.

I remember the first time I saw Kevin Welch at a Basement Discs In-Store in 1999, just before the Continental show. I thought he was the most gorgeous man I had ever set eyes on. I’d actually never listened to his stuff, but had booked for the show at the Continental because of Kieran Kane, whose 1995 CD, Dead Rekoning, I really liked.

It is hard to actually classify the type of music these guys play. It’s a rich mix of folk, country and blues. The songs are superb, mostly written by either Kieran or Kevin. The sound last night was mind blowingly good with the tasteful combination of various instruments – mandolin, banjo, guitar, fiddle, accordion and subtle drumming on the part of Kieran’s son Lucas. It was the first time I have seen Fats Kaplin with the others, and I must say he certainly adds to the vibe of the performance.

It was amusing, at the start of the show, when the venue proprietor attempted to do an introduction. He was either very nervous or just simply uninformed for he really muffed it, forgetting the names of the artists, “Welcome”, he said “to Kane and um…Kane and……”
He retired in confusion as the artists dryly remarked that they’d introduce themselves.

Anyway, it was great night of fine entertainment with exceptional music.

The photos are from last night. As the artists performed seated, and as there was such a maze of microphones and equipment on stage, it was difficult to get a clear shot. There’s nothing like a microphone growing from the forehead of a performer to spoil an otherwise good photo.

More information on these artists can be found on the Dead Reckoners website.

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