“This was possibly the noisiest ‘hoedown’ ever………………………………………” —Everybody’s sub-conscious
Anyway, it began with several short burst to get things started, from the house band of the evening. This comprised Eoin Callery (mountain dulcimer), Susan Geaney (flute), Tony O’Connor (bass guitar) and Barry Twomey (guitar). A very well behaved bass player who could have crush the puny acoustic forces, swelled and tinkered over the guitar and dulcimer duel. There were funny capo positions creating slidable bridges, randomly inserted beer mats, all manner of slides, and more picking devices than you can pick a string with. At one point there may possibly have been a few chords, but it all just happened so fast; a mass of plucked strings creating an infectious groove infecting any possibility of an healthy infectious groove developing. In the meantime the flute just wouldn’t stop, which is a good thing—moving from key clicks to blown vowel sounds and the occasional jet whistle………… that folks, was what it was all about. Marian Murray (violin) and Kevin Terry (guitar) joined for a round, altering the timbre nicely, with some semi-suggested riffs from Kevin, and “101 things to do with a violin” from Marian.
After a short break for cigarettes and bar trips, the main performer of the evening took the floor. Murray Campbell (violin), was joined by Marian Murray (violin) and Han-earl Park (guitar); Murray proposing, “101 other things to be done with a violin”, in dialogue with Marian—the combination of the two violins was sometimes like a “Pinky and the Brain” string ensemble plot to take over the world—was assisted by some short contribution from Han, for two 10 minuet trios. The contrast in bowing still, and slightly detuned long sustained tones duets passages just captivated the listeners, before abruptly stopping allowing the listener to be mugged by the ensuing hectic and dense finger work of both players. This was Murray’s second appearance at Stet Lab, but in my opinion this new venue allowed many of the subtleties of his playing to be heard much more clearly. His movement from long-sustained tone, multiple examples of melodic phrasing, and rapid combinations of whistle-tones, harmonics, bow scrapings, plucking and rhythmic taps—especially during the second trio—left nobody in doubt of his abilities and obvious comfort in many violin/fiddle styles. For the rest of the evening—with Murray at the helm—the other musicians present took turns supporting him through this investigation and presentation of techniques for a further 30 minuets of surreal barn-dancing…………….. if only you could get this in Redz seven nights a week.
A special mention must be made of the vocal talents of two heavily intoxicated eastern european (they never quite managed to explain exactly where they were from!) who entered the fray at various points. People may say that you could never perform something like Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” live—well given the right balance of whatever they were on, they may decide to stage it yet….. if you don’t believe me (and that’s probably the best stance to take) listen—puny earthling—to the evidence……………………………………..