Gig review: Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds @ Baby Blue Live Lounge
Wednesday 28th October 2009
A Celtic punk-folk band….hmmmm?! And fronted by Ade Edmondson of ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘Bottom’ notoriety?! I wasn’t sure what to expect from tonight’s gig by the Bad Shepherds. Ade and his Bad Shepherds (Andy Dinan and Troy Donockley) re-work punk/new wave classics of 1976-1982 in a folk style using folk instruments. I feared that this could potentially be an awkward and twee mid-life crisis fuelled endeavour.
From the first track of tonight’s gig I realised that those fears were unfounded. The band opened with their version of ‘I Fought the Law’, played on a mandolin, fiddle and uilleann pipes replete with acapella harmonies and…I loved it!
Throughout the set the band selected folk instruments from an exciting looking ‘music tree’ set up on the stage. Dinan and Donockley are well respected folk performers with Donockley having played in Maddy Prior and Iona and Dinan being the All-Ireland Fiddle Champion. The pair provided a perfect backing to Edmondson’s ‘thrash mandolin’ and boisterous vocals. Dinan had a few fiddle solos throughout the set which were outstanding and it is clear to see why he won his champion title.
Song after song the band transformed punk classics into bona fide folk pieces. The arrangements on some being so different from the original that it took until the familiar lyrics of the chorus to recognise the song. Towards the end of the set The Bad Shepherds reversed the trend by giving the traditional folk song ‘All Around My Hat’ a punk twist!
The atmosphere in Baby Blue was fervent with lots of singing along and a peculiar mixture of gentle moshing and vigorous jigging which I have never witnessed before and which can only be borne out of a punk/folk gig!
I personally came to the gig with much more of a folk bias but left it turned on to a whole world of punk I am excited to explore. As Adrian Edmondson observes, “punk was the folk music of its day” and this was particularly evident in tracks such as The Jam’s ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’ and The Adverts’ ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ which bear the story-telling qualities more often associated with folk music. When played in this style the lyrics seem to resonate more. The fusion of the two seemingly incongruous styles in such an effective manner is a great way of introducing fans of one genre to the other.
The marriage of punk and folk shouldn’t work, but it this case it really does and the Bad Shepherds have a great time in proving that.
The set list:-
I Fought the Law – The Clash
Up Against The Wall – Tom Robinson Band
(I’d go the) Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric
Rise – Public Image Ltd
Down in the Tube Station at Midnight – The Jam
The Model – Kraftwerk
Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
No More Heroes – The Stranglers
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding – Elvis Costello
Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials
Gary Gilmore’s Eyes – The Adverts
London Calling – The Clash
Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) – Buzzcocks
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