Somewhat incredibly this was already the 8th Vagaband Midwinter Moonshine, or ninth if you include the no small matter of the extra date added for the previous night when this one sold out so early. Quite a feat for any touring band but testimony to The Vagaband’s stature and local standing that they can fill the hall two nights running.
The Midwinter Moonshine ‘I’ night had incredible support from Murphy’s Lore and the fantastic Arlenes, backed I believe by most of the Vagaband themselves. Tonight’s opener though was the wonderful Yve Mary B, who of course was involved in the support night last year singing with Morganway. At long last hers and the Vagaband’s paths have converged and she features not only in their stage set on both nights but also on the splendid new Vagaband album – Something Wicked This Way Comes. I always knew they’d hit it off musically. There’s a video waiting in the wings. By the end of the night every single copy of the album had been sold which is highly encouraging as they need to raise some serious fund for the full, official release, but also shows the strength of their local support.
The stage looking stunningly beautiful and well-decorated Yve regaled us with some of her beautiful acoustic compositions and was joined for a song or two by Noel on dobro before making way for Paul Mills, compere for the night, to introduce The Shackleton Trio. Yve herself looked most festive in her ‘Christmas Yve’ robe.
In an ever-filling auditorium The Shackleton Trio got people in the mood as the pace built and got increasingly lively. Brilliant playing and chemistry.
When Jose came onstage he said: “There is a marked difference between the crowds last night and tonight. You lot are a lot drunker!” We were certainly up for a party and there was a great atmosphere. The Whistling Song sounded magnificent, Lifted got a response so warm that Jose was visibly moved, and the new songs fitted in seamlessly, sounding superb too and there was a good blend of newer material as well as some from the previous albums and live favourites. They were joined onstage by Yve and probably played for a good ninety minutes to a really appreciative audience. If you included guests there was all eleven of them at one point in the set … and I had no wide-angle lens! They were in tremendous form and never fail to rise to the occasion when playing the bigger events and stages. Two sell-out nights in a row is testimony to that!
There was also entertainment in the bar with a dj set from Hank Jd Sleek and plenty of dancing there too.
The NAC hosts yet another sellout on the following night – Friday – with the visit of The Blockheads featuring perfect support from our own Ben C. Winn. If you have ever felt such amazing things being brought to us could be in danger of being taken for granted please consider supporting the NAC by donating to become an official supporter with all the perks and rewards that go with it. Of course, they reward us tenfold with the incredible work and arts the bring to us so it is an investment rather than a donation.
Thanks as always to our beloved NAC.
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