Veteran band bounce back from ravages of Covid for local show

Full House: Fairport's full line-up back on stage in PenistoneFull House: Fairport's full line-up back on stage in Penistone
Full House: Fairport's full line-up back on stage in Penistone
THE march of time inevitably means concerts with 1960s bands are increasingly rare.

But some remain undaunted, including Fairport Convention, now veering towards 60 years, who were at Penistone Paramount last Friday evening.

‘A touring band who make records’ is their own description, but the reality of that was laid bare at the start of the current tour. The Penistone audience were lucky to see founder member Simon Nicol on stage - he’d missed the first two dates due to a brush with Covid.

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And it sounded like that might have taken its toll, as his voice took a couple of songs to warm up, to my ear at least.

No harm done then, but the fact he chose to sit down to play some songs when he wasn’t singing suggests he may not be quite recovered.

If so, it wasn’t reflected in the show, which was a well-chosen lope through their back catalogue, reflecting more or less every decade, including some lesser-heard material alongside the staples like Walkawhile and Matty Groves, not only a traditional song, but Fairport’s own tradition as a closing number.

Another tradition is violinist Rick Sanders’ second role, providing an interlude of stand-up. Some of the gags may have been reheated from last year’s tour, but let’s not quibble, here’s a band which doesn’t take itself too seriously. And one that doesn’t have to. As drummer Dave Mattacks told the audience, his colleagues are “the finest musicians in…..their price range”.

Great fun, underpinned by fabulous musicianship. The Paramount? We’re lucky to have such a great venue within easy driving distance!