We're taking a well-earned break in August, but we thought we'd just leave you with a reminder of what's coming up after the holidays.

Our Autumn/Winter Programme is full of the quality and diversity that you've come to expect from Downend Folk Club. It's a lineup that we feel very proud of and we hope that you'll agree that it's one of our best yet!

Kicking off our concerts after the Summer break will be the fast-rising four-piece KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD. Many of you will remember Kim and the band from their breathtaking set opening for Jackie Oates a couple of years ago. Well now, after many requests from you our members, they're back in their own right; they headline at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 15th September as they tour the UK with their new album, 'Wild & Wicked Youth'. Opening the evening's entertainment will be DFC regular GAV BALL.

Another exciting young band will be our headline guests on Friday 20th October as we welcome the fabulous GRANNY'S ATTIC to Frenchay Village Hall. This trio went down a storm at Bristol Folk Festival and tickets are bound to be very much in demand! Support on the night will come from local band EMBER (including DFC regular Mike Richards), who also hope to have a new EP out around that time.

Described as "one of the most important voices to emerge on the folk scene for years", November's guest is the inimitable GRACE PETRIE. Grace is a protest singer, but much more than that... she's a brilliant songwriter and exudes warmth and charm on stage. This is one not to miss, so be at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 17th November... and make sure you get there in time to catch the wonderful support act for the night, GAVIN OSBORN. Please note that this event is restricted to over-14s.

December sees us put on our most ambitious event to date, as Patron JIM MORAY returns for a full band show on Friday 15th December. Performing songs from his latest album 'Upcetera', as well as some favourites from his back catalogue, Jim will front a five-piece band as we venture out to Resound in Mangotsfield for the first time (while our regular larger venue at Christ Church is closed for refurbishment). Tickets for this one are a little more expensive but we've kept the cost of the others down and we're certain you'll find this show is worth every penny. The highly-rated DARIA KULESH will get the evening's entertainment underway.

Tickets for all the events are on-sale now HERE, where you can also buy a Season Ticket for all four gigs and save almost £5 in booking fees!

 

Something’s wrong. The usual air of bonhomie at the folk club is dark and oppressive. Maybe It’s the inclement weather, the glowering stormy skies that envelope Frenchay. Maybe it’s not.

Soon after GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR take to the stage we find out what’s happened. Parked in a Bristol multi-storey, some scumbags stole their precious instruments.

 You’d expect punk rock. Howls of fury. Four letter words and despair. Instead we get an anger ploughed in to every song.

“That set of tunes”, declared guitarist Russell after the first beautifully-judged instrumental, “was called Could The B@@@ards Who Nicked Our Instruments Please Bring Them Back”. From then on it becomes strikingly obvious that this set WILL contain anger, fury and howls of emotion. Just not in the way you might imagine.

All of a sudden you notice that each and every song is about injustice and unfairness. How the world conspires against the little man and is run by fools. Take 'Did You Like The Battle Sir?' from the new album, 'The Silent Majority'. A vicious swipe at incompetent and self satisfied leadership, hurled at us with a savagely strummed guitar and lyrics growled out. It is only just sweetened by Algar’s lilting violin.

'Crooked Jack' and 'EGA' follow. Both proper folk stories. Both telling tales of resistance and fortitude. The latter, in particular, a striking feminist moment praising an individual strength (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in this case). In these depressing times Russell and Algar tell us the truths we need to hear. Just like Ewan MacColl and Pete Seeger did all those years ago. Spiked with a very personal anger they make us listen to what is right.

All of this would be mighty worthy were it not for one thing. They are astounding musicians and undercut everything with a very wry sense of humour. Algar is usually the joker of the two (he’s subdued tonight) and plays violin as though the angels themselves handed it down to him. Multi-award winning and having recorded a gorgeous solo album he has a rare talent. Russell, his perfect foil, possesses a voice that seems far older than his tender years. Flecked with grit and tinges of Americana he has recently contributed to the fabulous Shake The Chains project, amongst other things.

The second set starts with the title track from the latest album, 'The Silent Majority'. It’s extraordinary. It swings wildly at every despot since the 30's. Landing punches with borrowed instruments. Skewering every evil regime with a simple song. Even with these unfamiliar machines they attempt to kill fascists.

In support was LEON GORMLEY. He’s a classic folk club singer. A delicate guitar player with an unashamedly Midlands accent. There are echoes of Bert Jansch, Chris Wood and  a polite political displeasure. His lugubrious style is perfect as an opening act but he’s totally flattened by the juggernaut that is coming behind him.

With luck Russell and Algars’s instruments will have been returned by the time you read this but, hopefully, their anger will never fade. We need them because, undoubtedly,  something’s wrong.

 

Words: Gavin McNamara

Photo: Chris Dobson

 

After the success of June’s India Electric Co. concert, this month’s event sees another favourite returning for a second helping.

GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR first graced the stage at Frenchay Village Hall in August 2014, but, it being the middle of the Summer holiday season, many of the club’s regulars missed the opportunity to see the dynamic duo in action, and begged for another opportunity to catch them live.

Two time BBC Folk Award winners Greg and Ciaran met in 2011. Soon after the joining of the pair, the duo were signed to Fellside Records and in July 2012 released their debut album, 'The Queen’s Lover'. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene. "The press coverage and folk club reports have been glowing and rightly so" (R2 Magazine).

In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Following the award win, Russell and Algar toured the country in April and, after completing school and University Exams in May, began touring again at the beginning of June - a schedule which saw them play venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention as well as appearing live on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.

After recording their second album in the November of 2013, again with Fellside, Russell and Algar received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The second album, 'The Call', was then released in July receiving 5 Stars in fRoots, 4 Stars in both R2 Magazine and The Telegraph and a host of other brilliant reviews, Bright Young Folk describing it as an "outstanding show of maturity" with "enormous promise".

The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI became All Ireland Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others.

Their latest album, 'The Silent Majority', was released last year to critical acclaim.

Support on the evening will come from LEON GORMLEY.

Self taught from an early age after picking up a guitar at home that belonged to his father Leon performed at various venues around the Birmingham folk scene of the mid to late 1980’s. Seduced by the lure of computer based music, first learning how to produce it then teaching it at a local community centre, he took a break from the world of folk during the 90’s but the acoustic guitar was never far from his side and he returned to it with a renewed passion at the onset of the new millennium, writing new material and continuing to develop his own unusual five finger picking technique.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 21st July 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. There will be a full bar, stocking a range of soft drinks, wine, tea and coffee, cider, locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based brewery GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., and locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. You are encouraged to being your own tankard/glass/mug as part of our drive to be environmentally aware. There will also be a raffle, the proceeds of which are spent directly on support acts, as we are an entirely "not for profit" organisation.