Welcome to our December Newsletter
On Friday, 14th December, we are proud to present
What you may have missed...
Anthony John Clarke and Dave Pegg, supported by Becky and the Sharks (Friday November 9th 2018)
Review by Dave Banks
It's always an enjoyable evening at Chesterfield Folk Club's monthly concerts at the Library Theatre, but this month was particularly so, due to the quality of comedy on offer, in addition to superb musicianship. The acts could have been specifically designed to appeal to my sense of humour, with lyrics that featured not only Khazad-dûm and Shackleton's banjo, but also the greatest footballer of all time, Archie Gemmill (not once, but twice!)
The show was opened by 5-piece band Becky and the Sharks. They're from the wrong side of the Pennines, but that mattered not a jot. The band has recently expanded from a threesome and now features Monica on bass, Steve on keyboards, Briget on cello, Penny on percussion. Singer Leslie Anne Davies, who is also songwriter-in-chief, played acoustic guitar and displayed a great, unforced vocal range. The songs were not only musically accomplished but very entertaining, from the Tolkien send-up Mithril ("All I want's a camisole of mithril... I'd even snog that big balrog, down in Khazad-dûm"), through Goth at Heart, to the fabulous up-beat East End Shelley ("Sweet little Shelley – Shelley's got a gun").
The Sharks were followed by the duo of Dave Pegg and Anthony John Clarke. Dave, of course, is a grand old warhorse of the folk scene – having played bass with Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull – and tonight he underpinned the evening with electric bass and mandolin. Anthony John Clarke fronted the duo with a guitar and a mix of song and comedy that put me in mind of a Belfast Billy Connolly. Live comedy has got to be one of the toughest jobs on earth, but to deliver gags and banter with flawless timing, while playing finger-picking guitar and holding down a rhythm left me feeling I'd just watched a masterclass in performing arts. I'm sure a lot of rehearsal and experience lies behind Anthony John's delivery, but his one-liners seemed to flow completely naturally, often relying heavily on gags about his wife Julia ("To think I nearly lost her... that was one hell of a card game!") and his Aunt Lilly. The songwriting was deeply impressive, too, ranging from the more sober end of the spectrum (The Broken Years and Years Ago, Not Now – about the bands and acts who'd had the courage to visit Belfast during the years of civil war), but usually ending up in comic mode ("Tuesday Night is Always Karaoke", describing the characters inhabiting a particularly god-forsaken pub on the Irish coast). Anthony John's lyrics impress and tickle my sensibilities (ooh, matron!). You can't not love lyrics like "Nibble on my little ear, Mother Superior" and a song that rhymes "clumsy tackling" with "Illya Kuryakin" (My Good Old Days). And then – those two Archie Gemmill lyrics - and the news that Donald Trump is Jedward's father - just made the night complete.
Come back soon, Dave, Anthony John and the various Beckys.
Concert photos by Patrick Scott