29 January 2014 (gig)
05 February 2014
The suspicion was that Wednesday would be no more than a routine launch for Tonic Fold’s new album; an early start, a no frills run through the album, and that’s yer lot. Well, it wasn’t, it was two hours or so of sublime music, a band performing a carefully thought out set-list, of old and new material, which frankly left this writer gobsmacked.
The church venue was pretty much perfect for this concert with Shane Cullinan conducting the band and orchestra from the piano. An engaging host, he told a few stories, and introduced the songs. The new album was, of course, the core of the concert though complemented by the older material perfectly.
Although every effort was made during the recording process to keep the sound as ‘live’ as possible, it is in the concert hall that they really come into their own. Live the songs are enriched. The disconcerting Bacon’s Pope was played as an instrumental with a palpable air of violence about it. The Rosary Minor went to another level featuring some stunning vocals, and was unsettling in the extreme. One of the highlights.
This was a concert of light and shade with the darker hues evenly balanced by the moving simplicity of Chaos and the upbeat Stones, which closed the concert. Of the older material Greenwich Park featured a voiceover from a Facebook volunteer, 5.35 was taken to another level, and sadly, as Cullinan mentioned, because of the backward and dangerous thinking regarding gay people in some countries, there’s still a need to perform A Scene from Titus, which tonight, had real venom.
This is wide sweeping cinematic music that’s big and clever but not elitist or really that difficult to grasp, grounded as it is in a pop sensibility. There are jarring moments, and a touch of the Nyman’s occasionally, and maybe a couple of the singers were overwhelmed by the music. But that’s nit picking, this was all said and done a wonderful evening’s entertainment.