Sons Of Noel and Adrian @ The Lexington, London 17.04.11

Performing one of two dates around the South East, the latter being set for Brighton, Sons Of Noel and Adrian embark on their Lexington gig with rich and emotive support from Dancehalls and The Mariners Children. With such a large number of ‘Sons’, a few spill over informing the line-up for The Mariners Children, a strong family vibe fills the evening then? Quite so, as the dim and soporific haunt that is the upstairs theatre fills with a lush warm glow, filling every corner, and evening turning one of Bearded’s accompanying music companions, and resolute Grindcore Geezer, into a Folk-obsessed fop!

Apr 17th, 2011 at The Lexington, London / By Clementine Lloyd
Sons Of Noel And Adrian Opening with moody mellower ‘The Yard’, Jacob Richardson’s trembling baritone is reminiscent of a Anthony and The Johnsons type deal, only slightly more progressive. It sets up the deepening darkness of ‘Cathy Come Home’, reaching out beyond the here and now to the dramatic gritty staple documentary of the same name from the sixties era. Jacob vies with the angelic timbre of resident ladies Helen Whitaker and Cathy Cardin. The result is a whirling dervish of hollow whips and mystery. Rather lovely to be frank, and no doubt the result of a carefully arranged pluck (if that is the correct term for a group of musicians) truly talented lads and ladies. 12 in total, all crammed on to the stage under the hot lights, it is difficult to create movement save in their voices and through the plucking of strings and shifting of wind through hollow objects, couple with the stamps and beats of drums and feet.

Raising the bar with ‘Matthew’, shedding the darkness with long notes from the reedy flute, the harmonious pattern of male base notes to the feminine lightness of voice is typifying of the folk genre, but executed with such beauty in turn with the steady rhythmic drum beat, turning staccato at piqued points, that time seems to lose meaning so that no one can be quite sure how long we have been ensconced here. Reeling through ‘Goliath’, faster paced and sturdy in its onomatopoeic delivery, the stuffy room is refreshed only by the silently quaffed pints of Cider aimed carefully through a gap in the multitude of beards, as the collective sing “8 bottles of Gin, that’s the trouble were in”. We like the idea of the Sons hitting the town and causing a riot, it seems so out of character!

Finishing (termed loosely here, as we all fully expect the fabled encore) with crowd pleasing ‘Indigo’, the foot stamping movements mimic a chorus as the surrounding notes from tambourines, violin, double bass and cello flutter like wings. Leaving the stage momentarily, there is movement at the foot of the stage. Closer inspection dictates that the stage has indeed been abandoned by Sons Of Noel And Adrian for a while longer, as half their number take to the floor, surrounded by folk-sters alike. It speaks volumes that fans give the group their space to play, moving aside whilst remaining at a close distance enough to be a part of the encompassing joy. ‘Leaving Mary’s Hand’ begins, an acoustic free from amplified sound, giving an earthy quality to it, giving deeper meaning to lyrics “I have both muscle, for love and hate”, a haunting quality lifting with whistles from human mouths. Hypnotic to the core, this moment ends too soon, and we are treated to ‘Damien’ as the stage is filled once more. Finger tapping filling the air, the lightness of this enders trumpeted notes in perfect harmony with the buffeted strings leaves us to contemplate the wonder of the evenings events for only a moment, before many of the stage dwellers step out into the crowd, to chat amiably with the fans and friends. It’s a lovely, unassuming family event, growing ever larger all the time. Catch them while they can still be house in a 200 maximum venue!