21 December 2012 (gig)
22 December 2012
They’ve been around since 1996 and released a fair few albums yet in some circles mentioning Mediaeval Baebes will raise chuckles and smirks, which in some respects is understandable but not really very fair. Tonight within the beautiful surroundings of the St Sepulchre without Newgate they showed that there’s more to them than good looks, faeries, sickles and Stonehenge.
A low key entry through the audience the band, in white dresses, opened with Dianae from new album, The Huntress. It’s a haunting start swiftly followed by the more up beat I Sing of a Maiden. The Huntress is well aired tonight choice cuts being The Rose Bud then the lilting Veni Veni Bella. The Baebes were centre stage, of course, with their vocals, uniformly superb. Any voids were filled by the backing band of percussion guitars and violin, with the Baebes themselves picking up recorders and tambourines from time to time. Highlight of this section was a very touching brace of songs - The Rose and Jennet’s Song - relating the tragic story of the Pendle Witches.
The songs are in the main based on mediaeval texts and rhythms though Musa Venit Carmine had a bit of a salsa flavour to it. The concert was split in two with the first set closing with a quite raunchy Kinderly.
Set two and a change into black dresses reflecting the slightly darker tinge of these songs. The flamenco of The Blacksmiths opened this section with the Baebes handclapping and coming across almost feral. Back to the new album, no complaints though as it is excellent in particular Queen and Huntress. An instrumental break before we are taken into Clasp of a Lion. The set closed with the darkness of Phantom which segued perfectly into a tribal Desert Rose. Encores were the bland There is no Rose and much more entertaining and bombastic Adam Lay Ibounden.
Ok, at times some of the moves and dancing looked a little cheesy, taken with the faerie and pagan motifs, the whole shebang could have appeared whimsical. Opinions about the band should start to change, on the strength of the new album and live performances, if they are as good as this. Though one wonders if the Baebes are really that bothered about anyones perceptions, and just content to have a ball regardless!