16 January 2010: Pressgang – Elm Tree, Cambridge, England, UK

I had a few problems getting to (and finding!) the venue, so the band had already started by the time I got there. Shame really, because they were on top form.

The stage was tiny and the venue was one of those narrow pubs that mean that wherever you try to stand you feel in the way – probably great if you just want a pub, but not much good for gigs. Especially bands like Pressgang where people do get that strange urge to dance around a lot…

There were a few new songs in the set, but it seemed to be mostly the old favourites they’ve had in their set for a while. Their unique version of “Hard times” is always great to watch, as is their version of “The Cutty Wren”.

“Merrily Merrily” gets more fantastic every time I see it played live. The first version of this I heard was actually by German band “Lack of Limits” – their version is good, but it lacks the theatrical element that you really only get when you see Pressgang live.

This is not just folk music, this is music that’s decided not to bother with traditional genres and has picked up a storytelling element along the way for good measure.

There were plenty of their livelier numbers in the set this time – “Donkey” always gets people moving as does “Head, heart and hand”. Even acappella numbers like “John Knox” keep the momentum of the set going while showing off what this lot are capable of.

@theasigma

Author: limur

Generally not interested...

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