Artist : The Jigantics
Venue : The Gun Room @ The RMA, Eastney
Date : 13th October 2012
A new name for many, The Jigantics bowled into town, and left behind them a wake of warm hearts, lifted spirits, and satisfied smiles. The Gun Room is a compact and bijou venue to say the least, but it does possess great acoustics, as both The Jigantics and support act Folklaw found to their advantage on a cold and wet October night.
Operating tonight as a duo, Folklaw are one of those acts that it’s hard not to warm to straight away. Nick Gibbs – lead vocals and (Union Jack) fiddle – is warm, sincere and engaging; with a capriciously cogent voice that adds credence and authority to lyrics of high moral substance.
Fist-clenching folk stompers “Nations Pride” and “Seeds Of Freedom” have the audience involved from the get-go, and with Bryn Williams machine gun acoustic guitar chords (no etiquette involved here!) underscoring Nick’s strident fiddle tone, Folklaw create a mighty “Wall Of Folk” effect that is hard to resist, and indeed bodes promisingly for the new album “The Tales That They Tell”.
Conversely, The Jigantics brand of Cajun-kissed folk rockery turned out to be the perfect complement (!!), easing us into a high quality selection of songs ranging from the not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house tear jerker, to the Doc-Martins-to-the-floor outlaw country floor shaker.
To be honest, with musicians of this pedigree (Martin Fitzgibbon and Marion Fleetwood of ColvinQuarmby, and Mark Cole, Rick Edwards and Ade Deane of Sons Of The Delta) it shouldn’t really be surprising. These are all seasoned and talented performers, as the stage rammed full of varying types of musical instruments and the sharing of lead vocal duties all round, testifies.
These guys (and gal) can really rock up a storm, especially on the Cole-led Earle-fest “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied”, and blues-driven “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart”. The sound is crisp, with the Fitzgibbon / Deane rhythm axis providing the solid base for the sublime fluidity of Rick Edwards’ guitar lines, and Mark Cole’s exuberant squeezebox meanderings.
Proving the old adage that “it’s always the drummers that have the best voices”, Martin Fitzgibbon takes to the front of the stage and handles the lead vocal on “Lakes Of The Pontchartrain”. His signature velvet tones to the fore (and all the better for it!), enveloping the audience with its mellifluous warmth and insistent vitality.
And as if that’s not enough, we were treated to Marion Fleetwood’s stunning version of Jane Siberry’s “The Valley”. Now I’m a big fan of top quality female vocalists such as Chris While (and indeed KD Lang), and I have to say that Marion Fleetwood is assuredly in that class. The voice is enough. Ethereal, emotive, passionate and at times siren-esque. The closing note of the song is greeted with genuinely affectionate applause, and a number of people standing up to show their appreciation – yes it was one of THOSE moments!
The Jigantics seem to have that innate ability to engender a ‘feel-good factor’. Disarming reticence. Getting peoples feet moving. Mark Cole’s naturally languid stage presence is a key feature as he extols the audience to “Hold On” before we’re assuaged effortlessly into the skanking country groove of “Johnny Too Bad”.
And then all too soon it’s final song time, as once again Marion Fleetwood enshrouds us with her seraphic cadences to the tune of “Black Mountain Lullaby”, a song made all the more striking by the sheer simplistic beauty of the melody contrasting intriguingly with the sorrowful subject matter of the lyric.
Really looking forward to this bands debut CD release, and hopefully we can tempt them back again next year…..