Fyfe Dangerfield

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun or namely Scottish born and bred Colin Mcleod is first on with his ditties whose influence hales from both the Isle of Lewis where he grew up and London town where he later sought fame and fortune.

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

Mcleod performs tracks from his album ‘Fireplace’. He jokes that the name for the album is also a place that ‘holds fire’ which of course sets the mind wondering on the true meaning. The songs are on simple themes such as love and loss and on dreams and hopes.

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

Mcleod has a charming presence on stage playing guitar with only raw strings for accompaniment. He holds his own, and is certainly confident for a young performer – at the age of 25. Mcleod seems genuinely honoured by the response of the crowd…

…and I find this is a great lead into the next set by Fyfe Dangerfield.

Fyfe Dangerfield

What impresses me most about Fyfe Dangerfield is his apparent effortless delivery of every performance with such power… the likes of which silences a crowd all at once. Fyfe’s first track of the night ‘Faster than the setting sun’ is accompanied by a pair of violinists. Fyfe picks up his guitar, eyes closed and sings. Onlookers appear frozen in time… entranced… after the first few notes he opens his eyes and scans the room from under his dark mop of hair as if in wonder at the awe he has instilled.

During the set Fyfe plays a number of songs from his solo 2010 album release ‘Fly Yellow Moon’ alongside several from the Guillemots collection both old and new (Guillemots are recording again this year). Fyfe delivers an astounding 19 song set with variety enough to hold my attention throughout.

Fyfe Dangerfield

The musical references are diverse which is a good part of what makes Fyfe so engaging live, and it’s hard to believe this guy who is only 30 years old has produced a back catalogue so rich in it’s musical influence. I hear whispers of Lennon, John Martyn and an even more punkier sound at times which I’d like to think has more than a little to do with the influence of Fyfe’s older brother Al. (Dangerfield often plays guitar in Al’s band The Courtesy Group and as if to to return the compliment has also supported Fyfe on some of his UK tours). Whatever influences are heard, though, are only momentary glimpses of the rich musical heritage Dangerfield has taken on (Dangerfield was classically trained from a young age). The set is a confident testament to his talents for both songwriting and delivery. Fyfe’s vocal ability I find most striking… he belts out some of the songs with such vocal force that I wonder where the sound can possibly be coming from.

Fyfe Dangerfield Fyfe Dangerfield

I last heard Fyfe play on a sunny afternoon at the Moseley Folk Festival 2010… a much different venue here though – the opening night in fact for the new HMV Institute ‘The Library’ room (the room we’re in is the old Barfly much changed with it’s more ‘adult’ palette of dusky grey and twin bars, shiny new optics and staff). Very different indeed, yet Fyfe is just as magnetic as his performance in Moseley Park. Fyfe originally from Moseley in Birmingham himself, has a loyal home crowd here too, and gets heckled in the friendliest of ways – one man hollers “I want to be your beard Fyfe!”, Fyfe is cordial to say the least and holds a witty banter with the crowd, albeit appearing a little awkward at this most intimate of proclamations.

Fyfe Dangerfield Fyfe Dangerfield

As I’ve said the set appears effortless, but I’d go even further and say he sings in a kind of ‘what the hell’ style; head thrown back belting out crowd pleasers such as ‘She needs me’ and the song that brought Fyfe to the masses; She’s Always A Woman (originally by Billy Joel). Fyfe brings his own unique style to the guitar playing on this one, and his vocal delivery is as good as, if not better than Joel’s – yes it’s true.
EDIT:Wayne
Used on John Lewis advert, the recorded version is great, but live it’s staggering. An entirely different track almost.

Dangerfield ends his encore where he began with ‘Faster than the setting sun’ (one of my personal favourites), this time accompanied by a full band with a much rockier feel… the end is met with a most rapturous applause from the audience… I see the signs of greatness to come.

Fyfe Dangerfield

Words by Sara Reynolds.
Photos by Wayne Fox, email Wayne.

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