Celtic Connections review: Treacherous Orchestra

Treacherous Orchestra raised the rafters
Treacherous Orchestra raised the rafters
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IT IS now practically enshrined in Celtic Connections tradition that the Treacherous Orchestra will raise the rafters with an all-standing gig on either the festival’s opening or closing weekends – but always a weekend, because this 11-piece big band are not a Tuesday night sort of affair.

Treacherous Orchestra - Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

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On this outing, they came packing some new material and creating delicious anticipation with their opening drones, skittering drum pattern and looping whistles, then eased in some lighter, lyrical tunes which showcased their gracefully powerful ensemble playing.

From here, they were home free, taking their all-ages audience. So seamlessly structured was the set that it seems unsporting to pick highlights – yet the eastern-spiced fiddle riffola of Adam Sutherland’s The Sly One was just that.

They were joined on this party bill by their Danish counterparts Habadekuk, an eight-piece big band likewise comprising top musicians drawn from other groups with a shared mission to lead the crowd a merry dance.

Fiddler Kristian Bugge wasted no time by launching straight into a perky jig. Inside of a minute, all his fellow musicians were (metaphorically) on the floor, the brass trio, in particular, providing an oompah-pah-party, as well as some enthusiastic dad dancing.

A devil-may-care spirit ran through their performance, leading to some playfully messy intro and outros, while their repertoire of folk dance tunes, including a jazz-infused Danish waltz and some lively sonderhonings (Danish polka) with klezmer and Cuban inflections, confirmed the general favourable impression of a Baltic Bellowhead. And that was one very happy pianist...