Sunday 11th March 2012
It is really refreshing that so many young musicians are coming onto the folk scene at the moment, and bodes well for the next era in the ebb and flow of popularity of the music. One group of young performers who have been making a big impact in the past couple of years is 4Square, who have played alongside some of the top names in the folk world, including a highly acclaimed set at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival.
Nicola Lyons is the band's step-clogging fiddle player; Daniel Day plays mostly percussion; Jim Molyneux alternates between keyboard and accordion; and James Meadows plays guitars, banjo and mandolin. Apart from James, they all sing and the vocal duties are taken in turns.
And so it was that on March 11th the club looked forward to a great night from the foursome … and they didn't disappoint! They started the evening with a couple of tunes, showing off their excellent musicianship, and then moved on through two brilliant sets of songs and tunes. These were mostly taken from their two recordings: '20:20 Manchester' and 'ChronicLes', but there were several new pieces as yet unrecorded. The lead musician and singing roles were rotated throughout the sets, with the musicians switching between instruments too, to produce a really varied and always interesting performance.
Favourites for me were the beautiful song 'Lily of Barbary', sung by Dan; and the Karine Polwart song 'Follow the Heron', led by Nicola. But the highlight of the night was the tune 'Celerity', written by Dan, which included a phenomenally good percussion section, including (apart from the more obvious drum and cowbell) quick-fire stepping, clapping, shaking and slapping - brilliant!
The audience, who had warmed to the band from the very first tune, would have had then play all night, but had to settle for an encore one one final set of tunes.
We've had some great nights at the Poppy so far, but this one will take some beating!