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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
ChrisJBrady Trans Sessions on Tour (15) RE: Trans Sessions on Tour 07 Feb 13

[i]Well we are currently half-way through one of the WORST folk concerts that I have ever been to - at a ticket price of 20 (I'm glad we didn't pay more). We are in the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.

The noise was so loud it was like there was a thick glass wall between the audience and the musicians (14 in number). The sound was so muffled that even the verbal introductions were indistinct, let alone the words to the songs. I have resisted going to folk concerts for years because most sound engineers are so incompetent in balancing individual musicians playing a variety of instruments. The attitude here seemed to be "let's drown the echoes by turning up the volume." It doesn't work.

Then there was the repertoire. Typical Trans Atlantic Sessions al la Beeb. All Yank, Scotch, and Irish with a smattering of French-Canadian. BUT TYPICALLY NO ENGLISH WHATSOEVER. The word English-phobic suddenly occurred to me. Yes - I think that the Transatlantic Sessions ARE racist against the English. The Beeb has a lot to answer for in not promoting ENGLISH folk music on this series. And the leading artists obviously support this attitude. So does that make them racist / English-phobic too? IMHO I would deem that to be so.

So this is a concert that I DO NOT recommend wasting money on and certainly NOT in the RFH. We'll see how the second half fares.[/i]

HUH - the second half was marginally better sound-wise. The artists split up into small groups of musicians / singers so at least the instruments could be heard even if the words to the songs could not.

But during the mass playing it was so dire that most of the instruments and musicians might as well not have been there. They had a full drum kit but the drummer was apparently miming - he simply could not be heard.

The whole impression was one of a complete lack of any form of engagement with the audience. It was as though they were in a mass session in an isolated croft cottage in the Highlands with the audience in Inverness. And they didn't even bother to have any props to pretend that they might have been in a croft cottage.

The audience was certainly not carried away by the music - but sat still simply listening to the wall of noise. Indeed it was hard to tell if the musicians were playing jigs or reels or whatever. From the There was no foot stomping, clapping, or audience participation. The vibes were dead.

So this concert was ruined by:

* Appalling acoustics at the Royal Festival Hall

* The incompetent sound - engineer and equipment)

* Disinterested musicians in engaging the audience

* Mumbled introductions to tunes / songs - including mumbled words (don't professional musicians ever learn or know to articulate?) * A complete lack of anything English - almost a complete lack of anything British even - most of it was Americana

* Was grossly over-priced for such an appalling show

Never again will I go to a folk concert at the RFH or elsewhere. BTW there is a better group session at Camden Irish Centre on Sunday afternoons and that is free.

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