It would be hard not to enjoy a Southern Tenant Folk Union gig. They bustle with positive energy on the stage, playing their instruments with wide smiles and telling quirky stories in between. They are a six piece from Edinburgh featuring guitars, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and double bass and play a wide variety of music all around the folk, blue grass and gospel genre.
The audience was a typical folk crowd, and had all ages and sizes. One of the things I’ve noticed is how all encompassing the folk scene is, as noted at a recent Unthanks gig in Dublin and really is something positive about the scene.
While watching the band tune their instruments before then began, a young woman excused herself as she pushed past me. Within seconds she was on stage and Carrie Thomas had picked up her fiddle and the concert had begun! There’s no airs or graces about the band, just a bunch of skilled musicians who seem like they would play all night if you let them. They played two 45 minute sets in Whelans last night, and were as they said themselves ‘their own support band’! There is no formal leader to the band, and they all take their moment to go centre stage and are equally happy in the spot light.
Their songs are about a variety of topics, from wage inflation to futuristic militarized farms! Their new album (their fifth to date) is much darker than those that went before, a ‘horror’ album as they said themselves and features songs about a day where the sun failed to come up (Goodbye Sun) and even one about the serial killer TV series Dexter (Dark Passenger).
At the end of the evening, the band took their instruments and moved to the centre of the room to play one of their best songs ‘I dream of burning buildings’. There could be no more fitting end to the night, than a sing along with the audience with no barrier between band and crowd.
Their last date in their 9 date tour of Ireland is tonight in Tipperary, and they can’t help but to have made some friends along the way. If you can make it to the Source Arts Centre tonight, they come heavily recommended!