Gig Review: Stokes, William @ The Troubadour

Stokes, William first caught my attention on the Communion record. Their song ‘Zion’ which features Marcus Mumford is one of the standout tracks from the compilation, and so as soon as I moved to London I made it a priority to go and see them. The evening at The Troubadour consisted of 6 bands, although I only caught 4, and one of them happened to be the wonderful Emily and the Woods who I posted as a New Treat a few weeks ago. She sounds identical to on record, her voice is as strong and as beautiful and her songs are delicately sweet, I have a lot of hope for this girl.

After Emily and the Woods was a band called Robinson who I had never previously heard. His music is very engaging, elements of country, pop and gypsy folk combined to create some very catchy songs. His lyrics are very simple, speaking of dreams and the like, and he was accompanied by some wonderful musicians, the violinist in particular added a wonderful touch. Another highlight of the set was the clarinet duo which was stunning.

I’d also never heard of the next act, a great great shame as I am now a definite fan. Roo Panes is an incredible talent and he reminded me a lot of Johnny Flynn. Witty lyrics, beautiful arrangements and melodies to treat the ear. His set was lovely. He was accompanies by William Stokes on mandolin and also a viola which added a lovely touch. I might put him as a New Treat at some point, he’s now been spotted by Communion and he is definitely one to watch.

Stokes, William next. He is another incredible talent and one to watch. I could compare him to a lot of bands, Mumford & Sons definitely, also Arcade Fire, Fanfarlo etc., however he also brings breath of fresh air to the folk scene. ‘New-Folk’ can often be tagged as serious and a bit intense, this young man brings a playful aspect to it, it felt like a party on stage and that the audience were such a massive part of the band as well. A band for the people for sure, for the next generation of folkies.

The Troubadour is like a underground cave. It’s boiling hot and its pretty hard to see the bands if your not on the front row or if you don’t stand on the chairs. However, it was a wonderful venue, the audience were very lively and it felt like there was a wonderful community spirit in the room, a little like with Communion gigs. It’s good to see that despite the success of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling, folk music still remains intimate and you can find some incredible talent in tiny rooms.

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