The Queen’s Hall
19 August, 22.00
Blazin’ Fiddles is a group of stupendously talented musicians, and one that you should definitely see if you get the chance. Though I’ve been to my fair share of ceilidhs, I’m hardly an aficionado of traditional Celtic music, but this band of four dynamic fiddlers backed by keyboard and guitar are so tight, so expert, and yet so fun, that it seems only the dead could fail to be entertained.
Indeed, one thing that struck me early on was the strangeness of listening to dance tunes whilst seated. This is riotous stuff, and the band whoop and stomp their way through the bold arrangements with such infectious energy that I feel pretty sure the chairs aren’t going to stay under us for long. And then, as the performers expertly negotiate another complex time change, I realise that if we were dancing we wouldn’t be able to watch them play; and that’s the real spectacle here. Like seeing Hendrix play a solo, or Q-Bert ditch his headphones, the creativity and technical excellence on display here is at once wild and absorbing. The fast numbers are blistering shredfests, the slower pieces epic and tonally beautiful, and the band is even funny! The teuchter banter fizzes from the get-go, and titles like ‘Buckfast at Tiffany’s’ are typical of their warm, self-effacing humour.
And so on to the punch-line of the evening, which I will probably never forgive myself for bringing up. The thing is, 45 minutes into the set, the fire alarm goes off and we’re evacuated, cutting the already awe-inspiring gig short. And as I wander away from the venue, a little disappointed at the rude ending, but ultimately delighted by this wonderful band, I just can’t stop thinking, like some kind of awful, grinning Mega-Dad, about the glaring, groaning aptness of their collective name… Taxi!