Concert Review Archive

 

Molly Bloom

October 21st, 2005
The Met, Bury, UK

By
Elwyn Davies
Photos by Lee Giles (taken from the Molly Bloom website)

At the end of their lengthy instrumental encore Molly Bloom vacated the stage to rapturous and sustained applause. The crowd continued to demand even more as the house lights were lit. Molly Bloom's unique brand of music had won over many more admirers during the course of their set at the sold out Bury Met.

I had last seen Molly in 2004 operating as a three piece band featuring S.Dundon on flute and vocals Tyrion (Terry) Moses on acoustic guitar and Derek Smith on Mandolin and bass. I had left that concert in awe of their performance. Before setting out for the Met I wondered if such a memorable performance could be matched or exceeded. I was not to be disappointed

The concert at the 'Bury Met' marked the return of Molly Bloom to their home and was a much anticipated sell out event. For this concert, Molly Bloom had reformed as a five piece band to be reunited with players who featured on their debut album Molly Bloom. Danny Ashberry (keyboards and accordion) and Christian Jacobs (drums).

The gig began with smoke effects, taped music and visual images projected onto a screen above the stage. The use of these effects had the desired result providing an atmospheric back drop to the emergence of the band.

The opening number was surprisingly the unrecorded Dare ya. It had many of the ingredients that make Molly's music so satisfying. The secret of Molly's success is that they can use aspects of conventional song structures, for example a hugely sing along chorus in Dare ya, but yet make each composition totally unique with, virtuoso playing, inspired flute riffs and changes of style and tempo.

Choosing an unreleased song as an opening number typified Molly's exciting approach to their music. The set was to include a further seven unreleased and unfamiliar songs. It was refreshing to witness a band that was confident enough in the strength of their compositions and was prepared to put so much unreleased material into their set.

Dare Ya


The remainder of the songs performed were familiar having appeared on the Molly Bloom CD.
There were many highlights during the performance. The strongest compositions on their debut CD, sounded even better live. These stand out songs If, Bullets and Blood. featured accomplished performances from all members of the band. In particular Dundon's flute playing added superb embellishments.
His breathy flute technique in Bullets was similar to the style made famous by Ian Anderson. Dundon's excellent flute work was a feature of many of the night's compositions.
Guitar player Tyrion Moses kept a low profile at the back of the stage. His playing was flawless and was at times breath taking to watch. He played an acoustic guitar which was linked to various effect pedals and devices. The sounds he produced underpinned and added depth to all of the bands compositions.
He was easily able to play in a rock distorted effects driven style and within the same song adding beautiful acoustic guitar lines. This was particularly evident in the Leonard Cohen influenced song Bullets during its slow introduction and rousing conclusion.
Molly's music unusually often features the accordion. The playing and contribution of accordion player Danny Ashberry was appreciated by all. Ashberry and Dundon alternated as the focus of attention of the band sharing vocals when necessary or as solo vocalists. Both sang well and were dramatic in their approach to performing. This gave the show a further dimension.
Visually the band was very exciting to watch. Bass player Derek Smith often took centre stage and his nimble playing was matched by his energetic stage presence. I enjoyed the instrumental Molly Bloom where the rhythm section were outstanding This Jethro Tull like song featured some great interplay between accordion and flute.

This outstanding concert ended with the crowd pleasing 50,000 camels. The audience sang along to the words which were projected on the screen above the stage.
After receiving a standing ovation the band returned to play a unreleased instrumental piece that I could only describe as symphonic prog similar in style to something Solaris might have written . It was superb. At the end of the gig the band asked the audience to buy their CD so that they might go into the studio to record the new compositions heard.

Mistress Winter


It is a sad indictment on the music industry that bands with as much talent as Molly have no recording contract and as such are totally independent and self financing. I hope that the tickets sold, CD sales and interest generated by this gig and will help to enable Molly to get into the studio soon. Judging by the favourable reaction of the audience at this gig any new recording will be eagerly snapped up.
Setlist
Dare Ya
Mistress Winter
Sprite Night
Pirates
If
Bullets
Molly Bloom
Mr Ying
Whos There
Lunita
Blood
Unfinished Business
50,000 camels

Unreleased instrumental

 


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