British folk band Lau helped kick-start Lynn Festival on Monday night with a dream-like, yet epic near two-hour set at St George’s Guildhall.
The trio, who all live in various parts of Scotland, came out on stage to co-play some kind of experimental electronic instrument with a keyboard on it which I had never seen before, and this was when I knew I was about to witness something I had not seen the like of previously.
Aiden O’Rourke on the fiddle, Kris Drever on guitar and vocals, and Martin Green on keyboard and accordion make up the trio’s unique sound.
As Lau played their way through a 12-song set, I remember thinking that if I were to close my eyes, I would have expected more than three band members to be on stage based on the number of different sounds that were produced, which were incredible and complex.
And that’s the wonderful thing about Lau’s genre of folk music, the experimental nature of it means that their sounds can defy expectation.
Another thing that struck me was just how talented each individual member of the group was.
O’Rourke on the fiddle was pure and exciting, with many different crescendo parts highlighting his ability, Drever’s guitar and vocal skills were flawless, and how Green manages to play the keyboard and the accordion at the same time, so effortlessly – yet so passionately – was beyond comprehension.
Despite the fact that I have never been to Scotland, Lau’s Celtic influences would be hard to miss, especially thanks to Green on the accordion.
Particular highlights included: Ghosts, Horizontigo, and The Bell That Never Rang – which the band wrote for the Celtic Connections festival in 2015.
St George’s Guildhall was the perfect ethereal setting for the band’s beautiful sound, but at times, the fact that the audience were seated seemed somewhat of an issue.
I felt that one audience member in particular might have benefited from more open space, as if the tapping of her foot was anything to go by, she might have appreciated the opportunity to dance.
At one point, things got a little political as Green said that they dedicated a song to any “international members of the audience that make up our diverse and wonderful country.”
But this only added to Lau’s reputation as a folk trio who don’t just sing and every now and then say thank you. Lau really interacted with the audience, and at certain points I thought the three men should consider taking up stand-up comedy as a side note to their success.
Their small digs at each other and amusing back stories to their songs gave them further depth and personality, which the audience certainly appreciated.
If you can catch this award-winning band at one of their rare gigs (according to their website, they only have four more planned this year), it is definitely worth it, but don’t expect short and simple folk songs. Lau are so much more than that.