'The Banoffee Pie Tour Collective' is an unusual name but one which manages to perfectly sum up exactly what the events are all about. It's a number of artistes getting together for a tour (Newcastle, Manchester and London) with the added twist of a free piece of banoffee pie for every member of the audience.
The musical genre is folk (or alt-folk, or even post-folk…). There's more on the genesis of the venture here.
I was fortunate to be able to make it to the first leg of the tour on Bonfire Night in Newcastle. The fireworks against the night sky gave the evening a celebratory air before the show had even begun.
The Cumberland Arms proved to be an ideal venue for the collective. The upstairs, intimate performance room offered a small stage and close-as-you-like seats, complete with a bar at the other end. There was a good turn out and the intimacy of the evening was further enhanced by a good percentage of the audience sitting cross-legged on the floor, conjuring up the ambiance of the bygone beatnik years.
Laura Kirby was the compere for the evening and she started the show by introducing Matt Stalker & Fables, who played a very pleasant set of quirky, acoustic ballads.
Manchester's Samson & Delilah were next up. I don't think I've ever seen so many instruments used by one group: guitars, drums, accordion, keyboards, mandolin, double bass, a flute and probably one or two more things all featured during their extraordinary, varied set.
They played a number a couple of songs from their debut album and several from their forthcoming new one.
Newcastle's 'home' act, Bridie Jackson, followed soon after Samson and Delilah. Regular visitors to Marsh Towers will know that we are currently running a series of interviews with Bridie (please see here for further details).
Bridie brings an incredible intensity to her songs. Her extraordinary, haunting voice and deep, poetic lyrics create a very unusual listening experience.
It's all challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes even bordering on the uncomfortable (in a good way!).
Kid Kirby's acoustic set was the shortest of the evening, but by then it was getting quite late. Nevertheless, it maintained the high standard of the evening and the softer sound brought the show to a fitting conclusion.
It really was a wonderful musical evening and everyone genuinely seemed to really enjoy themselves, whether they were on the stage or in the audience.