So that’s the festival over for another year. We saw two concerts this final weekend. On Saturday we were at the City Halls with Kingsfold to see Lau – the first half was a set by the band, and then the second half they were accompanied by the Northern Sinfonia in a large piece based on snippets of their music. Personally I loved the first half, and I think all of us were less convinced by the second half – I found myself getting frustrated that when the orchestra got loud I couldn’t hear Lau at all, and there were many points where I felt the orchestra detracted rather than added, to be honest. There were bits I loved – a movement in the middle where Kris Drever sang accompanied by the orchestra was wonderful, as was the last 5 minutes or so. But the piece as a whole felt a bit odd. I think I’ll stick to just seeing them on their own, without the distractions, they really are a cracking live band.
Then on Sunday, the final night of the festival, we were back at the O2 ABC for our “not really sure about this it sounds interesting but could go either way” choice, a bunch of seemingly random (but actually really well-suited) musicians coming together under the name Floating Palace and, as they put it, rehearsing in front of us. They were brought together by Robyn Hitchcock (who, it turns out, is a bit eccentric), as well as him it also featured Martin and Eliza Carthy, K.T.Tunstall, Howe Gelb and Krystal Warren. Originally Abigail Washburn was meant to be in it but had to pull out, she was actually the reason we had decided to get tickets as HD had really liked her at Womad last year, so when we discovered (on the day) that she wasn’t there I really wasn’t sure if there would be enough for us to enjoy. How wrong could I have been! Sometimes they all played together, most often it was various combinations of the six musicians, it was always excellent. I think my favourite was an a capella song written by K.T.Tunstall and sung by her, Martin and Eliza Carthy based on having just seen a whale in New Zealand, it was beautiful. And the last couple of songs (covers of The Jackson 5 and the Bee Gees!) were delightfully random. They’re touring round and about the place, well worth catching if you are able.