The Horse Loom / Randall & Nicholson / Ross McGivern / C Joynes @ The Blue Moon, Cambridge [15 April]

The Horse Loom / Randall & Nicholson / Ross McGivern / C Joynes

19:30 - 22:30

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The Blue Moon
2 Norfolk Street, CB1 2LF Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
The Horse Loom is the name given to the music made by Northumbrian singer and guitarist Steve Malley. Between 1989 and the late 2000s, Malley was known as an electric guitarist and the driving force behind a trio of key post-hardcore bands: Crane, Four Frame and The Unit Ama. The range of recordings, performances and Peel Sessions they left behind display a forward-thinking aesthetic that was informed in equal parts by the intense scorch of Husker Du and Fugazi, the expansiveness of Sonny Sharrock and Pharoah Sanders, and the networked DIY activitism of Dischord Records.

However, it’s his most recent work as a solo acoustic guitarist and singer that is perhaps the most surprising and the most rewarding. The Horse Loom emerged out of Malley’s retreat from touring and a re-exploration of his relationship with the communities, history and the landscape of his native Northumbria. Channelling the same extended, exploratory, on-the-edge quality of his guitarwork through an acoustic setting, he used this to frame a portfolio of truly extraordinary songs that combine mysticism with a very rooted, earthy reality. Added to that his rich, unaffected voice and you have something unique and special, and which has made The Horse Loom a word-of-mouth phenomenon to compare with fellow Tynesiders Richard Dawson and Nev Clay.

Since recording his debut self-titled (and so far only) album, Malley also founded the 12-piece Dark Northumbrian collective, and in doing so recruited some of the finest musicians in contemporary British folk music, including Alasdair Roberts, Lucy Farrell, Cath & Phil Tyler and Mary Hampton. Their repetoire focusses on traditional ballads and tunes from the North East of England and the Scottish Borders, breathing new life into them and re-casting them for the 21st century.

The opportunity to see him play outside the North-East is extremely rare: he last toured in 2009. Don’t miss this one.

The duo of Naomi Randall and folk veteran Lea Nicholson provide a surreal tapestry of traditional, folk and psychedelic sounds informed by the ‘odd folk’ of the 1960s and ‘70s. Drawn to the experimental, Naomi cites as influences the folk-rockers Mr. Fox and Trees, the psychedelic sounds of The Incredible String Band and American folk singer Linda Perhacs, and British acid/progressive folk/rock band Jan Dukes Grey. Her sparsely decorated voice is somehow simultaneously haunting yet authoritative. Concertina and bass-player Lea Nicholson ran the University of Sussex Folk Club in the late-sixties, booking shows for and playing alongside the likes of the Incredible String Band, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and Ron & Bob Copper.

The Bard of Spalding.

Budget guitar / broken amp.
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