Whoever described The Stanfields as ‘Stan Rogers meets AC/DC’ was a genius. The acoustic folk traditions of the Canadian Maritimes meets full-blooded rock n roll. The Stanfields, for those of you who haven’t yet sampled their delights, play music to jump around to, music to mosh to, music for the Celtic Punk in your blood and yet still subtle and “folky” enough to appeal to those of us raised on acoustic music.
This was the Stanfields’ first UK gig, a one-off on their way to a 2 week jaunt around Germany. I have to be honest here, we had our tickets bought and paid for within the hour of the gig appearing on the band’s Facebook page. However, as I staggered in from work (it was a Monday night) and contemplated a 100 mile round trip by train and about four hours sleep before work the next day, I nearly bottled out and stayed home. Thank God I didn’t! From the opening bars of Mrs McGrath, a tale of military service on the high seas complete with obligatory loss of limbs through to The Dirtiest Drunk (in the history of liquor), this was a night to remember.
The set list was drawn from both of the band’s albums; their debut: Vanguard of the Young & the Restless and the brilliant follow up: Death & Taxes. A couple of personal highlights were Run on the Banks, as it was the first Stanfields track I ever heard and one which does a good job of setting out the bands stall: honest working class lyrics welded to a driving rock sound but with the bazouki never lost. Dagger Woods, a ghost story of murder and demons from the woods of Nova Scotia and Fox in the Heather, always my favourite Stanfields track and one I now learn that was written for lead singer Jon Landry’s dog.
Yep, it was a Monday night and that might have kept folks away, but people, you missed a treat. I am fairly confident that when the Stanfields return we’re going to need a bigger venue. In the meantime, do yourselves a favour…buy their two existing albums and grab a copy of the soon to be released acoustic album King & Country.