Mr Fibby and Crooked Fiddle – Review

Merry Muse  8th August 2008

by Giselle

The audience attending this night conversed loudly all the way through Matty Ellis’ lovely songs in his walk up spot and clearly weren’t there for a show, so when Mr Fibby forcibly arrested the attention of that crowd before the end of the first bow stroke – acoustic…. on the floor…, without the advantage of stage visibility, the surprise was like a good whack to the side of the head. They held us through 45 minutes of four original pieces on violin, cello, guitar and spoken word, (er, spoken is an understatement)… “Was it theatre or was it concert ?”, “Were we in awe or delight?”, these questions hooked us into engagement.

Mr Fibby

Emma’s big fat warm violin sound, in lovely counterpoint with Grahame’s cello, breathed into Hadly’s spectacularly absurd stories while Sam sat with his 6 strings and did everything imaginable to let the guitar show us its voices (instruments secretly long to be in the hands of players who can let them sing…). They played a surprising variation on the usual amalgamation of classical and eastern European folk styles and they unassumingly do that special combination of comedy laid over quite exquisite musical arrangements. And, we were treated to a story given ever so subtly in waltz time. It was unexpectedly entrancing.

And then, the main act, Crooked Fiddle did the first set I’ve ever heard played continuously at 200 beats a minute. The dancers got a good run.  The drummer could’ve filled a football stadium without amplification and did a nice job of blasting out the fiddle rhythms and lilts in sympathy with the fiddler.  I’ll look out for catching these four in a bigger space and through a  whopper sound set up that might match the power drummer.

It was fun and definitely a night of contrasts.

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