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Author Topic: Review: Eliza and the Ratcatchers  (Read 20009 times)
Sir Robert Peel
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« on: February 09, 2006, 12:26:38 AM »

She strode across the stage and promptly sat down. The back of her hair was tied back in a fifties' pony-tail, while the front hung loose. Most of her hair stuck to her lips, trapped in her lip-gloss so that she had to spit and untangle herself before she could speak. And when she spoke, she apologised for being a little hoarse and chesty. (A little hoarse? She had to be kidding. This was no little pony but a colossal great show-jumper of a sore throat.) Not that a bout of laryngitis could ever stop Miss Eliza Carthy from singing her heart out to a packed audience at the Bury Met in Greater Manchester.

She's dressed in a low-slung black crushed-velvet skirt, a strappy black top that doesn't quite meet her waistband, a fitted jacket, thick black tights and the sparkliest pair of red killer-heels that I'd seen since the pages of the Ann Summers catalogue, probably. Not that I have. Those killer heels were to be another cause of comfort breaks in a sedentary position. You can't expect to cavort around the stage during Morris tunes in stilettos without ending up hobbling and bow-legged.   Or so I'm told. 

There was a third cock-up in that there was no merchandise, CDs and what-have-you for the hordes of fans clutching crisp tenners from the cash machine opposite the hall. I'd stood in that queue outside the Bradford and Bingley and, not having any E.C. CDs. was looking forward to choosing one. Fancy not having any CDs for sale!   Buck up, I say.

Over to my far left is the tall Jon Boden on guitar, button accordian, fiddle and vocals. 'He looks like Rodney out of Only Fools and Horses' says my companion.   I splutter with indignation on Jon's behalf.

Beside him and next to Eliza is Ben Ivitsky, on guitars, fiddles and basso profundo vocals.  I was about to find out that his self-effacing demeanour belied the importance of his role. 

John Spiers has a bank of about five squeezeboxes behind him of various hues, colours and sizes. He swops between them, even in the middle of a song. Disconcertingly, the process of putting on a squeezebox is rather like donning a brassiere. He bends over, places one strap over a shoulder, two straps, twiddles around the back, lifts up and then jiggles the squeezebox around his chest until its nice and comfy. Not that I'd know anything about this procedure - I'm just making assumptions.

There's a striking fellow on my right. I wish I knew his name. He looks like a prop-forward and is hidden behind an enormous tuba. And he's got bright red boots on. That tuba is to prove a master-stroke in the overall sound.

Eliza Carthy is a born entertainer and a trooper. Despite her voice problems, the chestiness, the cough, the mangled feet, the hectic schedule and so on, she produced rabbits out of hats. Not literally - I'm waxing lyrical here. Oh do keep up!

The set was varied - dance tunes, traditional songs, new songs, jazz and blues and ballads and funny songs. The weaker moments (and there were only a couple) were, ironically, the songs that took the longest to explain and introduce. They were 'Waterson' songs and a bit too Music Hall/Pearly Queen for my tastes. I was in a minority, though.   

I was very taken by the band's skilful musicianship, by the harmonies of Boden, by the sheer energy and joy that suffuses Spiers in performance, by the anchor-man Ivitsky and the astonishing rich sounds produced by the Tuba player. I was captivated by the earthy wit, good humour and stagecraft of Miss EC.

I suppose you've seen who won Best Live Act 2005. Well done, Kate Rusby - I saw that act and it was exquisitely sung and technically perfect. I declare, though, that it wasn't a patch on an off-colour Eliza Carthy and the splendid Ratcatchers.

Sir Robert Peel



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YaBB Master (Colin)
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 10:31:49 AM »

I've decided that where members have made the effort to write a long and interresting review, they deserve not to be pushed down the page and into obscurity. So in future they will be made 'sticky' for a few weeks.
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but BEING PAID -- what will compare with it?
Taliesin
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2006, 07:55:24 AM »

Wow what a review, can really imagine what went on & want a video of that concert forthwith  Grin Cheesy Smiley Cool Fez
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Ethans Granny (Carolyn)
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2006, 08:02:12 AM »

I think you might find that the tuba player was Gideon Juckes who also plays with Spiers and Boden in Bellowhead.     Grin

Carolyn
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Nick
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2006, 09:34:45 AM »

want a video of that concert forthwith

Not quite the concert Sir Bob saw but ... there is an Eliza concert being shown on BBC4 tonight (well, 2am Saturday morning). It's from 2002 and it features most of the Ratcatchers plus a few others. Oh, and her dad makes an appearance too.

Cheers

Nick
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Jan_
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2006, 10:21:40 AM »

Thanks for that, Nick.  I'll set the recorder.  I've only recently 'discovered' Eliza - mainly because daughter went to see her at Cardiff a few months ago and gave such good reports.
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Taliesin
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2006, 10:22:25 AM »

want a video of that concert forthwith

Not quite the concert Sir Bob saw but ... there is an Eliza concert being shown on BBC4 tonight (well, 2am Saturday morning). It's from 2002 and it features most of the Ratcatchers plus a few others. Oh, and her dad makes an appearance too.

Cheers

Nick

Great heads up, many thanks... will try & remind myself later on to set the video  Cool
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2006, 10:49:35 AM »

Saw her and them last year at the Festival Hall (a funny place for a folk type concert, but there is a certain well known precedent in 1969, so I read Wink

After all of the mixture of music they produced, including some loud and lusty singing, Eliza came out on stage entirely on her own for her second encore and did a fabulous acapello ballad which was the highlight of a llovely evening.
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Andy
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2006, 11:50:00 AM »

want a video of that concert forthwith

Not quite the concert Sir Bob saw but ... there is an Eliza concert being shown on BBC4 tonight (well, 2am Saturday morning). It's from 2002 and it features most of the Ratcatchers plus a few others. Oh, and her dad makes an appearance too.

Cheers

Nick

It'll be included in my Folk Britannia DVD set, if anyone is interested.
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2006, 11:57:16 AM »

Saw her and them last year at the Festival Hall (a funny place for a folk type concert, but there is a certain well known precedent in 1969, so I read Wink

After all of the mixture of music they produced, including some loud and lusty singing, Eliza came out on stage entirely on her own for her second encore and did a fabulous acapello ballad which was the highlight of a llovely evening.

I was there too, I've seen loads of folk type stuff there, though I do find it a bit sedate!.

I reviewed Elizas gig on the fRoots website here:

http://froots.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=193


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