Gig review: Blazin’ Fiddles/The Elephant Sessions, Glasgow

Blazin' Fiddles. Picture: Facebook
Blazin' Fiddles. Picture: Facebook
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Ah, the joys of naming a set of tunes. Like almost everything else they do, Blazin’ Fiddles throw themselves into the task with alacrity, coming up with such evocatively titled creations as The Lads Like Beer, The Bacon Allocation, and The Cambridge Caravan Catastrophe – and usually there is a story to go with it.

Blazin’ Fiddles/The Elephant Sessions | Rating: **** | ABC, Glasgow

Their hi-octane performance zipped by pulling other fiddling traditions into its slipstream – there was a touch of bluegrass picking, some super supple klezmer, and a Cajun-style scurry with staccato jazzy piano.

But they tempered their “fast, faster, pure mental” philosophy with a couple of more reflective tunes, including some tender harmonic interplay between Jenna Reid and Kristan Harvey, over which the Saturday night party chatter of the crowd could all too easily be heard. But with their usual good humour, they found a way of pulling attention back to the music, turning a demure waltz into a fun audience flashmob and orchestrating a swaying sea of raised phone lights.

Opening the show, The Elephant Sessions also have titles to conjure with. Their Misty Badger set is named after a “brutal” alcoholic beverage, though there was ­nothing slurred about their­eloquent sound and lithe execution.

Electric bass, guitar and drums provided additional oomph but, save for the odd springy bassline, distorted guitar effect or reggae-influenced inflection, the rock instruments generally provided the building blocks on top of which fiddle and mandolin could shine, before coming into their own when they powered through the closing stages of the set.