- 01 Sep 23
A For Folk's Sake Start To The Main Stage At EP '23
I was having an exceptionally groovy time over at the Trailer Park stage, getting all the way down to Darnell 'Big D' Cole & The Vibe - and if ever there was a band well named, it is them - telling us all they're going straight as the crow flies and heading all down the line while they're doing it in Taj Mahal fashion, but duty called so I hightailed it to the main stage for Kingfishr.
There's a blast of dry ice and on runs a young lad clutching his banjo, and there's a sentence you don't read everyday. The bass drum kicks in, sounding as big as a mountain, and they get a good old roar. 'Heart In The Water' gets this noticeably building crowd in gear, and there's an undeniably kick off the tom-toms/snare drum/banjo combination. Here's a band that are well able to play but before you can whisper, 'Christ, Mumford and Sons have a lot to answer for," we're getting lyrics like "desecrate my sacred water" and "feel the poison in my bloodstream".
The second song sees their great drummer - Mr Peter O'Sullivan - giving it out for all he's worth despite more "desolation is my witness" and "the one's you hold closest will poison you" poetry. "We're Kingfishr, lads. It's insane to be here," says lead singer and guitarist Eddie Keogh, explaining this is their first picnic. Later he'll remember that they were watching Fontaines DC in the Electric Arena a year or two back, and were told to give it up, so fair play to them for sticking it out and getting this gig.
To these ears, 'Eyes Don't Lie' ("Throwing stones at broken bones") and 'Headlands' ("tales as old as time...tell me what to say when the guards show up") were a bit hard to tell apart, a tad indistinguishable, but the fans were having a ball, clapping along to that big bass drum sound, which was very impressive.
Ok, lyrics like ""Bee Bah, baa bath, bah, aah oh" and "turning back time" in 'Hallelujah' might need a bit of fine tuning but when Keogh descended Springsteen-like into the pit to play his harmonica during 'Shot In The Dark' you could see the good time that was being had on the faces around him. New song 'Vancouver' had an interesting Waterboys-like start with banjo and guitar, before kicking back to a more familiar gear, but another new one, 'Caroline' had this enthusiastic and impressive crowd Ooh-oohing and Ah-ahhing along with all they had. I certainly liked the slightly cacophonous ending that pointed somewhere else, but they gave a fine account of themselves.
If Dermot Kennedy with added banjo sounds like your bag, then these are the band for you. I was relieved to hear Alannis Morissette come over the PA when they finished, and that's another sentence I never thought I'd write, but I was on my own there. Fair play to Kingfishr, they certainly got a good crowd going and gave them a fine opening on the EP main stage, and the very best of luck to them.