Thursday, 27 July 2017

Kangaroo Moon @ The Square and Compass 27.7.2017

Ah, the Square and Compass, you don't know it? Man, you need to rectify that. The Square and Compass is a sturdy Purbeck stone built inn set on the brow of the ridge, at the head of the valley which runs down from Worth Matravers to Winspit Quarries on the coast. Good cider, good food, a museum (yup, there's a cool museum in one of the rooms) and tonight great live music in the form of the magnificent Kangaroo Moon.

Kangaroo Moon are a versatile bunch of musicians, who appear in different forms, with different musicians, playing all sorts different flavours, funky, rocky, folky, influences from every style and from around the world; the consistent feature throughout though is they're always fantastic. Tonight manifestation was what I think of as the more traditional manifestation, as their music is on a more folkier, earthier tip. I saw them back in April at The New Avalon Ballroom Weekender, where they were on a heavier funkier trip. Tonight the band are Elliet MacKrell on violin and vocals, David Williams on things with strings, other things and vocals, Gem Quinn on drums and Mark Robson on keyboards, Didgeridoo, whistles and vocals.

The performance space at the Square isn't large, lets call it bijou, and it soon fills to the brim. The band begin to play, and instantly there are smiles all round. There's a real warmth to Kangaroo Moon's music, which always draws you in, it's joyful. It's not long before the crowd begins to move, as one by one more people connect with the music. It's so easy to connect to. Many of their songs have traditional themes and flavours, which resonate deeply. On every track Elliet's violin soars, whether lamenting or raising us to the dance, it sings to your heart. Violin is such a emotional instrument, you really feel it, and when played as well as Elliet, you're under it's spell and follow where it leads. With what appears a perpetual gentle smile of deep contentment, David Williams exquisitely plays a succession of stringed instruments and tiny things (of which he has an extensive collection laid out on a bench), which harmonise with Elliet's violin beautifully. Together they create a swirling musical sound-scape, which rises and falls, as we're taken on our musical journey. The songs keep coming, and the audience are transported. Driving everything along are Gem Quinn's drums, the beating heart of the songs, to which all our feet thump. I recently saw Gem perform with Here and Now, he was bloody good then too. That's what you notice with this calibre of musician, their versatility. Finally there's Mark Robson (also long time Here and Now member) surrounded by instruments, multitasking throughout, providing wonderful keys, whilst twiddling things, breathing a bit of didg here, and a toot on a whistle there, all the time delivering soulful vocals as he steers us through stories of gardening, amongst other things. I look around and all I see are smiling dancing folk, people having a proper blast. Lovely!

There's a brief break for people to refresh themselves and natter excitedly. Then the music resumes and by now the audience were totally engaged, I mean totally! Everyone's dancing, individually or together. I see there's a guy dancing whilst playing the spoons, the entire room are now up on their feet and dancing wildly, and the band just kept taking us higher. Gem's driving us along, then drops a marvellous solo, stirring the crowd right up. All the band member laid down stunning solos at one point or another. What an atmosphere! So much joy in the room. Music like this stands outside of time, it's eternal, if civilisation crumbles and people are scattered to the winds, music like this will continue as it always has. This is real music, it resonates in ways other music doesn't. The band look like they're having fun too. At one point I see Gem laughing at the antics of the audience. It's a proper Cheshire Cat grin type of a gig, and people are going for it, and why not. When times are dire (as they currently are), music takes on even more importance, it's a means of transportation. And, man, Kangaroo Moon were out of this world tonight, and they took us with them, what a performance! The audience would have taken more, though after noisy calls for such came to nought, we settled for bathing in the warm afterglow of a really fantastic gig.

A memorable evening for sure. I hope they return this way again soon, you can never get too much of what they bring.  In the meantime check out their site, buy some of their music, you'll be glad you did. As for The Square and Compass, bijou as it is, is an excellent venue, as well as an excellent inn, check it out. I thank the performers, the venue and the other audience members for a blast. Cheers y'all!

No comments:

Post a Comment