The Magpies Nest describe their nights as ‘New Folk, Old Folk, No Folk’ but what is more correct is ‘Really, really good Folk’. Team that with the gorgeous upstairs room of the old queens head and you have got yourself a recipe for success. But my night at The Magpies Nest far succeeded a success, it was a truly magical night, a little weird but so wonderful and overall one of my favourite gigs in London so far.
I went along to see the lovely Rachel Sermanni. Her set was beautiful, she has grown on me so much since and I am now firmly in love with her music. She has a very gentle voice which has a hidden powerful side to it and the sweetest songs. She was introduced onto stage as the next Laura Marling, a comparison which I think has been overused for Rachel Sermanni and similar new artists and I think in this case it is quite inappropriate. You can tell Rachels music has had a lot of traditional scottish folk music as well as newer folk music. She will be supporting Mumford and Sons this month on their Highlands tour and I hope she has a bright future a head of her.
The other two acts which played I had never heard of. Louisa Jones played a few solo songs first which was delightful. She started with two traditional English folk songs accompanied only by a cello, but her velvet voice kept the whole room silent. She went on to play a sweet love song, which was the highlight of the set for me as well as being accompanied by a male singer who sang about Hackney and the whole room joined in. The set had a lovely friendly spirit, it felt like anyone could get on stage and join in and be totally welcomed. Louisa also played with her band, Whiskey Moon Face later on in the show. They are quite a comparison to her solo work but both is wonderful and I couldn’t pick which I preferred. Whiskey Moon Face make what I can only describe as gypsy folk. Its very energised, lots of instrumentation, and really great stuff. They don’t have any upcoming shows but keep an eye out and hopefully they will soon!
The other band were a fantastic Roma Gypsy band called Szaszcsavas Band and the energy and life they brought to the room was fantastic. They played a number of fasted paced fiddle numbers accompanied by some of the fellow gypsy woman dancing, a quite eccentric hippie doing a strange sort of interpretive dance at the front of the stage (who during Rachel Sermanni’s set was dragged out of the room shouting ‘You are not the camera man of the universe’). Very odd but by the end of it most of the room was up dancing and the spirit was fantastic.
I think that night, more than any of my other gig experiences in London, the notion of ‘Music can bring people together’ was absolutely true. That evening is what all gigs should be like. Beautiful music, wonderful energy and a truly magical feeling. You can have a look at the listings for other Magpies Nest nights at their website here.
Here is a lovely video of Whiskey Moon Face…