REVIEW: April Verch – Black Box, Belfast
With a few candles providing dim light to the negligible stage, the setting is perfect for the incredible fiddle playing and step dancing that will be put on show tonight.
The band go for the minimalist approach, with one microphone centre stage being the focal point throughout for the performance. Brief introductions made, the band kick off the set which runs more like a theatre performance with an almost story like delivery of the material. During the set the audience are treated to a unique snippets of history regarding the track or set of tracks that follow. April Verch leads things and proves very versatile as she plays the fiddle, step dances, sings all while providing plenty of chat between tracks.
Accompanied by Cody Walters playing upright electro-base and banjo and Hayes Griffin on acoustic guitar and mandolin, the trio have their own certain allure with their different styles of playing merging perfectly together. ‘Polska from Kumla’ is an example of just how beautiful the tracks can be. It is a specimen of Swedish Folk music that the trio have adapted and is just one of the many genres of music that we are treated to tonight. There are also plenty of original tracks within the set including ‘Foolish Heart’, written and performed by Griffin which proves to be incredibly catchy and displays his unique voice perfectly.
After a brief interlude, the trio head back to the stage and give some details about their new album, ‘The Newpart’. Verch explains that the album title refers to an extension that was added to the house where she grew up, demonstrating just how personal her music is to her. For track ‘It Don’t Do Nothing But Rain’ Verch sprinkles sand onto the stage floor which dulls the sound of her step dancing creating an exclusive sound that makes the tracks completely unique. The variety continues as the set rolls by as we hear genres including Gospel, Old Time Tunes and even some Waltz tracks.
Verch briefly leaves the stage to allow for a Banjo & Mandolin solo demonstrating just how impressively Walters and Griffin can play. The set finishes with a three piece medley of Old Time Canadian tunes that Verch used to listen to on her Dads record player. The delivery of the tracks gives the illusion that they were meant to be played together demonstrating just how much thought the trio have put into their set.
The set finishes with an encore in the form of track ‘Tennessee Wagoner.’ The track is cleverly crafted to allow each member of the band to have their own solo. The crowd are truly left in awe as the trio each play/dance and at an unbelievable pace. Pamela Anderson, GiggingNI.com