Solas Festival 2018 #2

It’s currently Saturday morning, and I’m sitting in my tent leafing through the programme, deciding on what to do today. I think today will be mainly music – most of the talks I’m interested in are happening tomorrow.

I thought I’d review last night’s main stage acts a little, as they were all excellent, and it added up to a fine evening…especially because the weather was unusually forgiving.

I’ve already mentioned Gnawa Trance Fusion, which turned out to be a fascinating mixture of old and new from Morocco – can’t say I’m generally familiar with their cultural scene, but after this I should probably rectify that. Really enjoyable – chilled and mellow but with a great rhythmic background.

Grace Petrie was a familiar name – she’s a Greenbelt regular – but I’d not seen her perform before. She’s a folk singer-songwriter with a great onstage patter, saying there’s only two types of folk song – angry and sad – and that her CDs made ideal gifts “for the angry lesbian in your life”.  Her work was humorous but also passionate and angry, and two songs particularly jumped out. In one, she spoke of the people who went to fight against facism in the Spanish Civil War even though it was no threat to them, and in another she reclaimed the term “snowflake” – if we’re being insulted for trying to care about each other and make the world a better place, it can’t be too bad a thing. Certainly keen to go away and give her stuff a listen.

Next up was Glasgow’s Bossy Love, a pop/dance act who were very catchy and good fun, with a great energetic lead singer in Amandah Wilkinson. Lots of different sounds and mixtures, all came together really well – got the crowd going (a few of them at least!) nicely.

Harry Baker, a performance poet, came on before the final act of the evening – he’s great, and I can strongly recommend seeing him if you can. He does great plays on words, especially in his German/English falaffel spoon poem – it has to be seen to be fully appreciated. 🙂

Finally, 47Soul from Palestine finished up the night – they sounded fantastic in their earlier soundcheck and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Really thumping bass, lots of great drums and really unusual, distinctive sounds – Journeydaughter joined me for this one and we had a great dance to them (well, sort of – my lack of dancing skills is quite noticeable).

All of these bands are well worth checking out. Some more pics on Instagram shortly. Stay tuned for more!

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