Gig In The Garden
Minnowburn – Saturday 4th August 2012
In a bid to get Belfast closer to nature, the National Trust have organised a truly great mini festival called ‘Gig in the Garden.’ They are not usually known for hosting cool gigs but they seem to have compiled a fantastic line up of local Northern Irish talent. Not to mention the fact that the sun is shining, there is some great local food and Beers on draft and a fantastic all round festival like atmosphere.
The Bookhouse Boyz
First up is a little known duo consisting of brothers Paul and Conor – named The Bookhouse Boyz. The pair wow the crowd with their soothing soulful voices; treating them to their versions of songs from 60’s legends The Beatles –‘Little help from my friends’, and an amazing cover of Jeff Buckley’s version of Soul songstress Nina Simones’- ‘Lilac Wine.’ As the boys begin to draw their set to a close, they have time to show off an original song that Paul has written called ‘Cave in’ which pulls the crowd closer to the stage. Their final song is an enjoyable cover of The Rolling stones – ‘Last Chance.’
Son of Caliber
Next up is Sons of Caliber – a five piece folk band who claim to draw their inspiration from wolves, starry nights and nature in general. Quite appropriate for this gig due to the stunning scenery – hopefully no wolves though… They take to the stage bursting with mellow riffs and melodies that are sprinkled with hypnotising vocals. Vocalist/Violinist Rosie Barry and vocalist/bass player Dave McComb voices work exceptionally well together drawing the growing crowd closer, as the band tell heartfelt stories through their songs. Their music is perfect for fans of the likes of ‘Fleet foxes’ and ‘Mumford and Son’s. As the band draw their set to a close before heading off to Forfey festival, Rosie takes lead vocals for ‘Yellow Rose’ mesmerising the now chilled out Gardeners (as the punters have now been nicknamed). They close a tight set with ‘Young Dove’ from their EP –‘The Tundra,’ allowing the gardeners to sway along to every word whist relaxing to the soothing melodies in the beautiful Northern Irish sunshine.
Katie and the Carnival
As the ‘gardeners’ begin to clap and cheer, the lovely Katie Richardson takes to the stage with her eccentrically dressed band, better known as Katie and the Carnival. They begin with a set packed full of soulful vocals and energy yet with a mellow twist. The band work extremely well together, and look like they are enjoying themselves immensely throughout the set. Katie jokes with the punters that she only writes songs about the wind and faces whilst performing songs such as ‘Perfect Storm.’ ‘Long, Long Time’ is an upbeat song oozing with attitude along which is magnified due to an extremely energetic performance of it. The band finishes up with their new single ‘Dinosaurs.’ It is a song that has a Duke Special vibe to it. It receives an excellent reception from the now beer filled gardeners, many even singing along as the band leave the stage to join the crowd for the rest of this exciting festival.
Next the gardeners are treated to a beautiful acoustic performance from 26-year-old Wes Grierson. His songs tell stories of heartbreak, the surrounding dark days that follow and then the joy of happily moving on. As the punters sway along, many enjoying a local tipple, it is clear he has won a few new fans. Wes finishes up with ‘Fairy-tale Wonder’ a song that the gardeners seem to really enjoy as they applaud and cheer before Wes leaves the stage looking like he also really enjoyed performing.
The New Sheriffs
Taking to the stage next is a Northern Irish duo consisting of Declan Doherty on Vocals/Guitar and Tom Muinzer playing the Electric Fiddle; better known as The New Sheriffs. They certainly look every bit the part with their cowboy hats and they liven the gardeners up with their blues inspired covers from artists such as Neil Young. They are heavily influenced by original blues legend ‘Muddy Waters’ but manage to give their sound a Northern Irish folk like twist. It is soon clear to hear why this little known duo was chosen to support country legend June Carters’ daughter Charlene at the Belfast Nashville song writer’s festival.
The Jahm Band
Continuing with the fantastic line up next is a seven piece Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock/Funk band known as The Jahm Band. This is their last gig of the summer and they show their intent by kicking off their set with a groovy instrumental that soon follows hypnotising lullaby like vocals from vocalist Sara Dylan. Throughout their set bass player Nicholas Todd dances around the stage soaking up the festival atmosphere. The gardeners also dance along to the funky jazz like sound and even children get in on the action. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about the Jahm band is the unique sound made by the many instrument’s on stage including saxophone, guitar, flute and even hand drums.
The White Mansions
Next up, and treating the gardeners to a very different sound to what they’ve heard today is bluegrass band – The White Mansions. Bursting with Alabama style country goodness, lead singer Paul Reid gets stuck into his Johnny Cash style vocal while banjo/bass player Marty Young continues to strum country riffs that even Mr Conway Twitty would be proud of. The band inspires the gardeners to clap along to songs such as ‘Western Skies’ and ‘The Tractor song’ written about Pauls’ Great Grand Father. They receive a fantastic response from the well warmed up festival goers.
Finally, closing the very first (and hopefully not the last!) Gig in the Garden is a five piece band named The Jepettos. They take their name from the creator of the famous puppet Pinocchio; as the tale goes, the wooden puppet came to life through love, therefore the Jepettos hope to bring life to their wooden instruments through the songs they play. They seem to be doing exactly that today, with what can only be described as mellow lullaby like vocals, from Ruth and Mike Aicken. The crowd (who are enjoying the warm evening sunshine at this point), sway along to almost lucid like songs such as ‘Goldrush’ and ‘Something in the air’. As it is bass player Colm Hinds last ever gig with the band they seem to be putting their all into their performance. More and more punters move to the front to enjoy the show and the band finish up by dedicating a song to The White Mansions as applause and cheers fill the air signalling the end of the very first Gig in the garden.