Even those familiar with the performers' CDs would have been taken by surprise by the richness of sound that it is now possible for nominally accoustic performers to produce on stage given current technology. For in two sets of moderate length, these two cunningly harmonised against their own voices, or accompanied instrumental breaks that they had played only seconds before. There was a wealth of textures that belied the label of folk music, while still remaining largely true to the genre.
Most of the material was by Hardy herself, and the newcomer to her music, like me, faces again the problem for all singer-songwriters: there is no chance to familiarise yourself with the song, to catch its nuance of lyrical or musical phrase and meaning, before it has moved on. Even when the sound quality is as excellent as it was here, the words are quickly lost. Which is a particular shame with a performer like Ange Hardy who has a dramatic backstory of childhood difficulties and adolescent crises boldly overcome and built upon, that she frankly sets out on her website: www.angehardy.com. It is easier to appreciate the quality of what is offered when the song has had two or three previous hearings, or when the performance is of covers or traditional material. Thus for my traditionally-minded ear, a stand-out moment was Hardy's solo acapella version of She Moved Through The Fair, lent distinction by her restrained soprano with just a hint of reverb. One could not help be moved.
Lukas Drinkwater is a great foil, tall and slim to Hardy's buxom, with a line in sly humour and alarming blue eyes flashing over the top of his guitar or double-bass which probably guarantee a following of his own among one sex or the other, or both.
It was another memorable night created by our own Daf Edwards and her little crew.