Jacob’s Ladder – Wednesday 13/12/17
Jacob’s Ladder the pub in the clouds above Falmouth. It could be due to a lack of oxygen, or hallucinations from climbing the 111 near vertical steps to get there from the Moor, but this pub always feels a tad ‘other’. Like the land at the top of the Faraway Tree ladder it changes every time I go there, but is always an adventure, peopled with friendly but usually unconventional characters.
The annual Source FM Xmas party is hosted there; this year broadcasting live on air from the pub from 5pm to 11.30pm. There were two stages in adjoining rooms and roving presenters smoothly ad libbing as the show moved from one stage to the other and back. Think Jools Holland Hootenanny, but less greasy and a lot more fun!
Unfortunately I was working so missed the first two hours only getting there for The Jeanne Naylor band at 7pm. Poor Jeanne was suffering very badly from flu and kept having to grab emergency tissues between songs. The band also had to tweak the set slightly to focus on songs that wouldn’t put too much strain on her voice. Despite this, it was a very impressive performance that I enjoyed very much. Jeanne’s raw, bluesy material is very engaging and I’d very much like to see them again.
Next up were Sam & Cally on guitar and viola with a guest appearance by Matthew Collington on drums. Fabulously dark, folk inspired music about vampires and other unusual subjects. A great performance, especially considering that poor Cally was quite literally on her last legs – another victim of the flu.
The Tiger Tales then took over with their bubbly, eclectic mix of rock and blues. This original 5 piece from the Lizard peninsula had a slightly different line up to the last time I’d seen them (Helstonbury 2017) but were on full form. I still loved the full-bodied vocal fire of Niki’s voice, and this time it was given additional heat by beautiful harmonies from new tiger Chloe, on keyboard.
Frozen Houses followed this from the acoustic stage. They are a grungy folk duo whose beautifully blended voices reminded me of the mighty Kings of Convenience. Unfortunately the pub was invaded at this point by some very loud drinkers who yabbered over most of the set. I also wasn’t too impressed by the numerous canine stage invasions, or the dogs barking and almost fighting. (Soapbox time) If you are bringing a pet to an event like this please make sure it’s well behaved! The poor sound guy had enough to do without having to keep grabbing at the whippet desperate to get into the back corner of the stage, or deal with the yappy chihuahua with the trailing leash that was trying to wrap itself around the singer or knock expensive equipment over. Nevertheless it was a very professional performance by the lads, under very difficult conditions.
Juan Graterol y su Conjunto Gozón were up next in the other room, and this passionate 6 piece with their traditional Venezuelan songs went down a storm! The audience loved their unusual blend of cuatro, guitar, trumpet, maracas, cajón and double bass and were whooping and dancing along to their fabulous Joropo, Salsa and Merengue rhythms in no time. Even the dogs started to behave.
This should have been a very hard act to follow, but Brytevibes were up to the job! They launched their new album in true style with their weird and wonderful mix of punk, new wave, hip hop and folk. Lou was as incredible as ever, playing a different instrument for each song; while Steve provided a solid backbone of irresistible guitar riffs and vocals. Sadly my favourite from the set ‘Snake’ is too new to be on the new album so I guess I’ll just have to go and see them again (and again).
Last up and rounding the evening off with their demented, high octane, psychedelic folkey rock were Hanterhir, one of the most original and exciting bands I’ve come across, inside or outside of Cornwall. This time in 5 person mode (Ben, Jason, Grant, Lou & Mike) they had the audience either riveted or thrashing around wildly and inspired some truly astonishing freestyle dancing.
All in all an epic night of music, in very enjoyable company. Well done all involved!