Yorkston/ Thorne/ Khan – Workman’s Club – Gig Review – 07-08-16
For the last night of their Irish tour, Yorkston/ Thorne/ Khan played the Workman’s club last Sunday evening. The trio arrived on stage at 9pm without much fuss. The band are a collective and each one gets to sing and write their own songs for the albums. It’s something that Yorkston stressed in our recent interview with him when he talked about the introduction of Jon Thorne to the band, as Khan and himself had played as a duo previously.
“So, we called the act Yorkston/ Thorne/ Khan and we set the stage up with Jon plumb centre, encouraging him forwards, to use his undoubted bass skills as a lead instrument – he’s an equal third of the trio and he’s blossomed into his role. He also sings and brings his own songs along”.
They opened the night with an instrumental track that seemed unusual for the band. There were quiet moments before louder sections and in some ways it was reminiscent of the typical post-rock format, except this was played with guitar, double bass and sarangi.
The unifying feature of the night were a collection of bad jokes from James Yorkston. Suhail Yusuf Khan had to tune his 40 string instrument, which allowed James time to ad-lib. They just came coming as he explained why he chooses to dress from C&A and also why his other band mates dressed in pyjamas (Khan) and rolled up jeans (Thorne). He was the only one on stage in shoes, so he was in the minority in that respect.
The band have just finished recording their second album in Newry. James Yorkston fans will have to wait for the release of his next solo album! The reason for the tour was also slightly unique, as Khan wanted to see Ireland, so they set about taking in some of the main tourist destinations of this fair country, namely Cork, Galway, Belfast, Kilkenny and Dublin.
The mix of sounds is quite unique and there is a touch of jazz to what they do, while combining older folk songs from both the Indian and Scottish tradition. Their unusual sound has attracted a number of curators of festivals and James is about to make his Edinburgh festival debut, despite having lived there for nearly 20 years. James also confirmed that he would refuse an OBE if offered, (Queen Elizabeth II – if you’re reading this?) as he said they were only for crooked business men and politicians.
The band really do have something quite unique and they are less lyric based than what Yorkston has worked on previously. Also, with all three musicians sharing the vocal duties, there is much variation in sound through the evening. Highlights included the Sufi song along with Broken Wave (A Blues For Doggie) which James dedicated to his friend Doogie Paul. It was an impressive set and the small crowd seemed to really enjoy it. Now, if they could just do something about James Yorkston’s jokes!
Seamus Fogarty seems very relaxed on stage. He started his short set with an a capella version of an old Irish love song, before working through a number of his own songs. He’s very much a traditional singer songwriter and seems to love being on stage. He was joined by Jon Thorne on double bass for a number of tracks. The topics of his songs varied from a 6 foot 7 inch Irish man whose bones remain in a museum in London to the night he missed the last bus home from Carlow and slept in the local church. He woke up to the hushed tones of the Rosary the next day!