The Led Farmers at the Workman’s Club – Review and Photos
Folk music. It’s a genre of music that conjures up a whole range of images in my mind, as a late, I’ve come to associate it with hipsters, beards, and the most hated of phrases, “I liked them before they were cool”. So thank god for the emergence of The Led Farmers, an overwhelmingly charming folk fusion act, comprised of three Dubliners and a Clare man. To say these guys know what they’re doing when they come on stage would be an understatement, besides the fact that each member has studied and qualified with degrees and masters in classical music (I got a little bit overwhelmed even writing that), they have the kind of energy and stage presence that’s almost infectious. From the second they come on stage they just ooze a sort of easy-going confidence and pride in their music that’s practically palpable. In spite of the delight they take in performing at home in Ireland, the boys have spent quite some time abroad, honing their musical sound, and teaching people across the world how to say “feckin’ deadly”. On top of that, they put the final touches on their new album Lucy, an interesting combination of originals and traditional Irish folk songs, but because they’re quite cool and all about fusion, they decided to record Lucy in Soundville Media Studios in Switzerland- impressive, I know. Even before they came on stage on Friday night, they have this curious little film running beforehand, with the lads talking about their music and just having the banter in general, again it all goes to show how dedicated they are to their shows.
I didn’t really know what to expect, I expected banjos and covers of the Dubliners. I did not foresee some serious vocal range, nor did I anticipate a face-meltingly good cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” (at which point I promptly lost my mind out of sheer delight). Phrases I never thought I would say: 1) “Beyoncé could definitely use more banjos in her music”. However, their talents don’t stop at infusing pop music with a distinctive Irishness, they also have some pretty fantastic tunes themselves. They have quite emotive tracks like “Cheannaigh Me Mo Chroi” and “The Blacksmith”, demonstrating their proficiency as musicians, with a serious side to their performance. Then they perform tracks like “Drinking With the Lads” and realise that they aim to create a gig that is both unique and highly enjoyable. Workman’s was shaken to its very foundation the second they chose to cover “Dirty Ol’ Town” and “Irish Rover”, the people who chose to wear their best Irish dancing rigouts, and there was lots of them, The Led Farmers know how to rock out an album launch. Choosing to pepper their repertoire with the likes of The Dubliners, Planxty, and the Pogues, whilst fusing them with a more upbeat rhythm, they can really make anything entertaining, they even give out free glow sticks, what more could you want at a gig? With their laidback manner but undeniable dedication to their music and fans, The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment. I have a feeling that their album will get the recognition it undoubtedly deserves, particularly if they keep giving out glow sticks at their shows!
Review by Elaine McDonald
Photos by Tudor Marian