Winterfylleth 'The Hallowing of Heirdom' Acoustic Tour - Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow
The first night of the Winterfylleth 'The Hallowing of Heirdom Acoustic Tour', began in the atmospheric sanctuary of the Cottiers Theatre in Glasgow, formerly a church. Storm Ali had been raging outside for most of the day, with 80 mph winds, and everything lashed by intense rain. That Winterfylleth had made it to Glasgow, given the anger of the elements, was nothing short of a miracle!
Wolcensmen, led by Winterfylleth's Dan Capp, in only their third gig ever, opened the show. Including members of Winterfylleth, their gentle acoustic songs filled the venue with a sense of yearning, and connection with the mythical. The final number 'The Fyre-Bough', had a wonderful final section, where acoustic guitars, cello, keyboards and voices, synchronised perfectly, to create a soaring emotional and beautiful sound, that simply permeated every space of the old church venue.
Mark Deeks the keyboard player with Winterfylleth, introduced his set, by sharing with us quite touchingly, how his music is inspired by the Northumberland coastline. A song inspired by Jarrow, had the most delicate of piano melodies, where the chords seemed to literally hang in the air, and express so much. The accompanying cello created the most wondrous of musical conversations with the piano, conveying a palpable warm intimacy. The final number 'Dusk' had a disarming poignancy, where every note mattered, and seemed to explore a deep level of feeling, and of being fully in the moment.
Winterfylleth started their set with the beguiling 'The Shepherd', which Chris Naughton stopped midway, sharing with the audience that he had come in too early. It was a heart stopping moment, as the performance that followed seemed perfection itself. The voices and instruments literally took off and created an edgy folk soundscape, that felt to this reviewer to be the musical highlight so far of this year! The stunning guitar and cello phrases seemed to allow Chris and Mark's voices to reach to the heavens.
An instrumental version of 'Children of the Stones' from the bands black metal oeuvre, saw Dan say that "...everyone here represents the black metal fan that understands where we are coming from", to much sustained applause.
For the next number 'Latch to a Grave', shortly coming out as a 7" single, Chris described the canon of Anglo-Saxon riddles, which can range from reflecting on the spiritual nature of the wind and stars to the mundane of everyday life. Dan, Mark and Chris's voices combined to create something so ethereal, and yet grounded in the everyday, with the violin and cello punctuated by a medieval sounding percussion pulse.
An instrumental version of 'When the woods were young' saw Simon Lucas's drums really drive the music, reminding us that this is an extremely talented metal band, who combine metal and folklore in the most exciting of musical adventures.
'Elder Mother' is a song about a tree spirit in an elder tree, who influenced the destiny of invading aspiring Kings, and had the most striking feminist feel to the lyrics; and in the music a pastoral tour de force, that felt so inspirational and moving, with the violin and cello playing sounding simply stunning!
'The Road Ahead' inspired by Tolkien's the Hobbit, saw the three acoustic guitars come into their own with cross cutting melodies, and Mark's wistful voice taking us on a journey to the unknown. 'The 'Green Cathedral' from 'The Dark Hereafter', in another important theme for the band, contrasted organised religion with a conjoining with nature.
The title track from the 'The Hallowing of Heirdom', brought this wonderful concert to a gentle end. It was simply sublime, with Chris looking skyward to the old church's rafters as he played and sung, accompanied by Nick Wallwork's intricate guitar work, and Kathleen's violin and Eleanor's cello, interweaving with the profound connecting of voices in harmony.
A special mention to Hannah on the sound, that connected us so deeply with the musical might of this great band.