Dry dock isn't a particularly bad venue for a folk gig, but when compared to other folk gigs I have attended, some of its patrons were boorish and ill mannered. While singer/guitarist Troy Faid gamely ploughed on with his intricate guitar work the table nearest him largely refused to listen and applaud, and the two young girls behind me continued a mostly shouted conversation for the whole of his set. What I did hear of Troy's music and singing sounded great, fast and complex guitar playing and a vocal style not unlike Jamie Roberts, I would definitely like to hear him again with a more interested audience, Swan Songs perhaps ?
Laura Barber of BTP - photo by Jess Shepherd
Blackbeard's Tea Party don't suffer because everyone actually listens to them, and also because they're pretty loud, loud in a really fun and infectious way. There are no vocals, just a selection of fast and jaunty folk pieces on a variety of traditional (fiddle, a squeezebox of some sort, and is that box percussion called a cajon ?) and less traditional (electric guitar and bass) instruments. The evening whirls past as BTP, looking happy to be performing, play a series of catchy, mostly up tempo numbers. Band leader Laura Barber moves from Mona Lisa smile to outright laughter during the set, cajon player Yom Hardy is a frenetic mass of whirling hair worthy of any self respecting po-faced metal band, and the comic asides on merchandising keep the atmosphere merry.
BTP seem a band really into their thing, they play with a sort of loose panache, not that they are in any way sloppy, but they play with a friendly zeal that makes their doubtless well practised music seem to flow naturally and effortlessly.
I should have seen Roughneck Riot, but it was past 10:30 when BTP finished, and with my last train departing soon, it was back to the station for me. I know this is a constant old man complaint from me, but why don't students (as Dry Dock is largely a student pub) support our traditional brewers and demand proper ale in their pubs ? Another night of crappy frozen Tetley's plastic bitter.