Gig review: Dallahan - Cumberland Arms, 12th November 2018


Rae Farren
15th November 2018
Credit: youtube


If I had to describe this gig in one word it would be ‘friendly’. On entering the cosy upstairs room at the Cumberland, the relaxed cabaret-style seating and purple fairy lights made it instantly welcoming. This friendly atmosphere is more than just a façade, too – many people in the audience know members of the band.

Dallahan are a five-piece folk band offering a unique blend of Scottish, Irish and Eastern European influences, with an added dollop of lively humour. One set of tunes was introduced thus: “This set is a mix of Romania, Ireland and… his brain. You cannae get a Ryanair flight there.” Not only are they highly skilled musicians individually, but as an ensemble they fit together perfectly. Sounds weave in and out of each other, sometimes pulling back to let something else take centre stage but never disappearing entirely.

The sharp twang of the tenor banjo, delicate fiddles, punchy accordion, subtle guitar and throbbing upright bass all combine to make a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In their tune sets the sounds weave in and out of each other intricately, even when the energy is high and the tempo fast. Their songs are also imaginative, with guitarist and lead vocalist Jack Badcock offering startling adaptions of traditional material. One example is a traditional American song about a man in prison, to which Badcock has added a chorus so that it reflects the unfair incarceration of black people in today’s America.

This gig was part of the launch tour for their album Smallworld, which is sure to be absolutely exquisite.

I highly recommend seeing Dallahan whenever you get the chance. Fantastic.

Follow Dalahan's tour and buy tickets:

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