Feeling down, depressed, under the weather? Forget the potions and pills… If you’ve got the Monday morning blues, let Dr Hairy prescribe a dose of Merry Hell!
That was precisely the situation last Monday. By the end of the evening, practically every foot at Conwy Folk Club was aching from tapping merrily to the uplifting songs from the most upbeat folk rock band in the business.
Merry Hell has growing band of ardent followers, myself included, who wouldn’t dream of missing another opportunity of seeing them perform live. Looking around the packed auditorium I recognised many faces from other North Wales clubs and beyond.
This Wigan based band never disappoints. Their songs have the kind of hook that you hear once and evermore instantly recognise. Virginia and the Kettle Brothers deliver their wonderfully lyrical songs with such energy and enthusiasm, you can’t help but sing along.
And those in the room who’d not had the pleasure of seeing them before, found their perception of folk music suddenly elevated to a whole new level.
We heard many of the old favourites including some off their current album “Head Full of Magic and Shoes Full of Rain”. It wouldn’t be a Merry Hell gig without Drunken Serenade, Fear of Falling, Pendle Hill and Bury me Naked. But we also had a taste of what is to come on their forthcoming 2015 album with “A Ghost in our House”.
They appeared this time as a six piece comprising their main acoustic line-up of singer Virginia and the Kettle brothers John on guitar, Andrew on vocals and Bob on mandolin, plus their bassist Nick Davies and Neil McCartney on violin and stomp box.
At larger venues they often perform and an eight piece with the addition of drums and keyboard.
It was a night of good spirits, good music and good humour. Conwy is, in the main, an enthusiastic friendly club – apart from the one gentleman who objected with very rude sarcasm to my obscuring approximately 10% of his view of the stage for a full 20 seconds!
Regardless of that, it is a club I would happily recommend to anyone on that part of the North Wales coast looking for a Monday night live music venue.
I can’t let this review end without mentioning the lovely Lori Campbell who opened the evening. This young singer songwriter from Bristol absolutely captivated the audience with her beautiful voice. Although her style was totally different to that of the main event, she certainly set a very high standard for them to follow.
Suffice to say I will be looking out for any future appearances she makes in our neck of the woods. And to do her justice, she and the EP I bought from her on the night will be the subject of a separate review to follow shortly.
Watch this space.