Electric Palace
Saturday 28 February
BR rating: ***

By Jonah Corren
Fairport Convention
What audience members may have expected from 46-year-old Fairport Convention was largely a replaying of favourites and reminiscences of the years of former lead-vocalist Sandy Denny, and their acclaimed album Liege & Leif, which is still widely regarded as the finest folk/rock album. But the band’s set proved that old dogs certainly can be taught new tricks.

The majority of the songs the band performed were from their new album, Myths and Heroes. The best of these was an instrumental romp masterminded by Ric Sanders aptly named The Gallivant, which combined a very Spanish sounding guitar riff from Simon Nicol with a much more rocky sounding rhythm section than the previous songs. On vocal numbers, Chris Leslie’s voice shone through as the lead.

Between songs, Ric Sanders and Dave Pegg in particular enjoyed what was often childlike and cringe-worthy exchanges with the audience, riddled with shameless puns and anecdotes which made you realise just how much the band still love what they do.

The fan favourites the audience had been waiting for finally arrived at the very end, with the classic Fairport anthem, Matty Groves sounding almost as good as it did when it was first released, and the harmonies in the encore, Meet on the Ledge, creating a fantastic sound enhanced by the audience singing along to the ever memorable and poignant lyrics.

It’s clear that Fairport Convention aren’t the band they were in 1969, but considering only one member from that period remains, it’s hardly surprising. For long-time Fairport fans the tour is a great experience, but the amount of new material in the set leaves plenty for new listeners to enjoy, and the band which is famous for adapting to its circumstances goes into another year with as much enthusiasm as it has had in the last 46.