The Queen’s Hall
16 August, 22.00
The Queen’s Hall is peppered with an odd mixture of older folk fans, mostly occupying the pew-like seats that edge the main room, and bright, trendy young things who cluster in groups of four or five on the dancefloor. A typical Festival audience this: a cocktail of die-hard fans rubbing shoulders with chipper hipsters hoping to be entertained but little caring by what as long as there’s lashings of lager involved.
The Peatbog Faeries themselves are an equally mixed bunch: middle-aged men in striped shirts looking like accountants on a night off accompanied by boys young enough to be their sons. Their sound skips genres effortlessly, combining jazz with traditional Celtic sounds, bagpipes wailing over a pumping electro beat reinforced by some serious drumming.
Certain tracks remind one of the best excesses of U2, full of national pride and all the bombast of Bono and The Edge on a good day. The crowd on the dancefloor, initially mistrustful, gradually begin to dance and cheer, driven on by the pounding, all-pervasive beat. Members of the seated ranks give up their previously coveted spots to join those throwing shapes on the dancefloor.
Some of the crowd look a little shocked – this wasn’t what they, or I, expected from a band with a name so decidedly folksy as The Peatbog Faeries. It almost seems a shame not to experience their music amidst all the heat and enthusiasm of a club, but the Faeries did their best to blow the roof off the historic Queen’s Hall. It worked for some, arms aloft, clapping in time, and not for others, huddled in the back pews, wishing they’d read the show description a little more carefully.
Well, you can’t please all the people all the time, but you can please some of the people, including this reviewer, a hell of a lot.