REVIEW: Brilliant Corners presents Fred Frith – The MAC, Belfast

fredfrithErratic, unusual and rhythmic sounds packed the small Mac theatre room on Saturday night as another successful year of Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival drew to a triumphant end.

We hear ‘jazz festival’ and for many of us, our minds envision that undeniable speedy soul hitting rhythms and the unpredictable risky ventures that accompanies jazz, and the closing night of this sensation festival delivered just that. Adding a modern and curious approach to the genre and to the music scene.

Running for the third year, Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival is Belfast’s only dedicated jazz festival, conjoining both local and international talents to create a spectacular 4 days of pure entertainment for all.

Upstairs at The MAC began to fill and the minimal use of lightening along with the smaller size of the setting created an intimate feel for the audience.

As supporting acts David Stockard and Edward Lucas took to the stage to collaborate and play an acoustic improvisation set on percussion and trombone. They immediately captured and maintained the audience’s attention with their unique take on their instruments and playing style. All eyes were fixated on the two, nobody daring to look away at risk of what might be missed. This collaboration produced mesmerising and enchanting sounds but listening alone did not do it justice, as they created a visual set, both undoubtedly hooked on their instruments and playing.

The collaboration worked on improvisation, displaying an inimitable creativeness, picking up on one another, matching and differentiating between pace and volume. Experimenting with the sounds and limits of their instruments.

Main act, multi instrumentalist, composer and improviser Fred Frith took to the stage accompanied by an applause from the audience, all attentively awaiting the unknown sounds that were about to be created.

Barefoot and displaying a natural demeanour, this felt unlike a concert. Picking up his Gibson ES 500 Fred Frith took a seat and invited the audience into his imaginative world of music. Showing off all aspects of his guitar, he played at great ease, like this is what he was made to do.

Frith sat among an array pedals and equipment, using the likes of violin bows and chains to create new and unusual songs with his guitar, sending a rhythmic base throughout the audience. Everything played was looped in order to build it all up bit by bit, alternating between using equipment and playing with his hands. The sounds created pulsating through the audience.

Frith showed the guitar in a completely new light, displaying the diversity of the instrument. Throughout his performance the intimate feeling in which the night held heightened, with an immense atmosphere created. When the ebow was introduced to the performance the intensity amplified.

The performance was invigorating to watch and to be a part of and was a great end to the festival, closing it with a massive success. Siobhán Murphy, GiggingNI.com