We saw Aberfeldy play The Zodiac on Monday. I find it very hard to be critical of them at the moment, as they’re generally lovely: their stage presence is something to behold too: it’s clear that they learnt a lot from touring with James Blunt.
For their genre—twee-pop backed by squirty synths, mandolins, banjoes and fiddles, with silly lyrics and occasional quiet numbers—they’re incredibly polished. The backing vocals from Sarah and Ruth are perfectly pitched for the songs, and despite being high voices seem to go well with lead singer Riley’s occasional excursions into falsetto. They played much of the material off their two albums, plus the now-legendary Tom Weir. A brief screw-up on (I think) Summer’s Gone did nothing to spoil the encore, accompanied as it was by Riley’s banter and a swift push into the next song.
The two supports were pretty shambolic. Foxes or The Foxes or whatever they were, sounded like a world constructed on the theme of Belle & Sebastian, but where nobody can play musical instruments. Catherine Feeney was nice and lyrical enough, but it’s a hard gig to hold it together with just you and a guitar—memories of the poetry night there with everyone sat on the floor—and her duet of Mr. Blue with Aberfeldy’s Sarah was a bit like something you’d sort of come up with while rehearsing and think, oh that’s great. Only you’d probably rehearse it before actually playing it live.