The Classic Grand, part of Celtic Connections
[Greg Lawson (fiddle), Phil Alexander (piano), Pete Garnett (accordion), Mario Caribe (double bass) and Guy Nicholson (percussion), with guests Chris Stout (fiddle) and Fraser Fifield (whistles and soprano sax).]
We went to see Moishe's Bagel at the last night of Celtic Connections yesterday - bit of a last minute decision on being offered some tickets. It's a klezmer/Balkan/jazz/folk type group, with fiddle, accordion, percussion, string bass and piano. I don't like klezmer music, and was hoping for more of the other ascpects, but I was unlucky - it was mostly klezmer. I went on the basis of the fact that Mario Caribe was on bass, and he's a well known jazz player on the Scottish scene. In fact, the piece I liked best was the one he had written, called The Flatlands (inspired by Lincolnshire) - it was excellent, and quite entrancing. It made me think how much more fun it is to play music than to listen - there is a barrier that somehow prevents the complete immersion of the player from reaching the listener. I could see how much they were into playing it, and I wanted to be part of that, not a passive outsider looking in. But it was still wonderful to listen to.
They were joined in the second half by Fraser Fifield on whistles and soprano sax (which the piano player announced as an alto - fail!), but you mostly couldn't hear him when he was playing the soprano, with the exception of a short jazzy moment in one of the pieces. He plays (physically, rather than stylistically) the soprano like it's a penny whistle! Quite unlike other saxophone players.
The percussionist was interesting - he played mostly with his hands rather than sticks, and sat on the floor, which was strange. I wonder that he didn't get dead legs, sitting like that for so long!
The venue was packed - very popular. Obviously some dedicated followers in the audience as well. Lots of arty-folky types too - a lot of hair that made me wonder, "is your hair naturally that messy, or did it take an effort?"
All in all, the band were technically amazing, but I don't think I'd go back - it's not really my kind of music.