Talisk + Folkestra @ Sage Gateshead – 20/05/22

Yes, you read the title right. This is a LIVE REVIEW! Wow, I haven’t written one of these in a long time. I actually wasn’t even approached/asked to do this one, I just really enjoyed the gig and thought I’d share my thoughts with you all. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!

I’ve been a fan of Talisk since 2017, when Spotify recommended them to me (if you liked X you might like Y kind of thing), and have seen them once before at Boomtown 2019. I had had my ticket since the start of 2020 for May 2020, then it was November 2020, then May 2021, then finally May 2022 (damn you global pandemic). So, it’s safe to say by the time Friday night rolled around, I was raring to go.

Folkestra – I knew Folkestra was supporting, and I have heard of them before (I’m at the Sage every week for Folk classes, so I’ve heard them mentioned), but was not sure what to expect. I really enjoyed it. Folkestra is a group of very talented young folk musicians, who were introduced to the sage by the founder of Folkestra, Kathryn Tickell (who I grew up listening to, so I did a little inward ‘fan girl’ squeal when she came on stage). They played a mix of traditional tunes and a few originals, and they were absolutely fantastic!

Talisk – Ahhhhh! The moment I’d spent over 2 years waiting for. I feel that I need to preface this by saying that folk music makes me extremely happy. I was brought up listening to it at home, being taken to back rooms of pubs to hear bands play since I can remember, and I’ve been playing the flute since I was 7. Folk music is very much a big part of my life. Talisk are a trio comprising of Benedict Morris (Fiddle), Mohsen Amini (Concertina), and Graeme Armstrong (Guitar). It was a little strange sitting down at a folk gig, but safe to say that didn’t last for long. Mohsen soon had us on our feet jumping about. The presence that the trio have on the stage is incredible, they really make the room feel alive. They truly are footstompingly good, so much so my feet hurt afterwards (totally worth it though)! No gig is complete without some audience participation, and we had to sing some ‘Ah ah ahs’ along to ‘Lava’ (taught to us by Benedict and Graeme) which we kept on going after they finished that song. They played mostly songs from their newest album ‘Dawn’ but did throw in a few ‘oldies’ including ‘Montreal’ from their 2018 album ‘Beyond’, which is one of my favourite tracks.

As the gig drew to a close, Mohsen said that this would be their last song/set, we obviously all very sadly said ‘awwh’ (knowing of course that this would not be the last song). He replied that we didn’t sound sad enough (cue laughter, as we knew he was joking) so we tried again, this time even more audibly, which made us win the prize of an encore! As they left the stage (for real this time), the lights came up and the ‘post-gig music’ started. Was it something folky? You’d think so, but no. It was Gina G – (Ooh Aah) Just A Little Bit. Of course, I had to stay until that finished to have a little boogie with some of the remaining crowd, and the stewards.

As I wandered happily out of the room, I decided to join the queue at the merch stand. I’d already got my t-shirt in the interval, but I did want to tell them how much I enjoyed the show. Seeing the people in front of me getting their CDs signed gave me an idea, and I whipped out my ticket to get them to sign it. I was told it was very ‘retro’, which made me feel old! I’m already keeping an eye on their socials for when their next gig is.

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