The Set List:
The Time That's Mine
Merry Go Round
The Miserable Rich
Twelve Ways To Count [BUY]
Mark Hamilton, the leader of Woodpigeon, has a beard too. He also is a good foot taller than the rest of his band. This, the beard and the generous-sized woolly jumper give the impression of a high school music teacher leading a troupe of students. Tonight's appearance was the five-person version of the collective - Mark on red Gibson acoustic plus keyboards/melodica, cello, violin and violin/ukelele - and they tended to the hushed, acoustic end of the Woodpigeon songbook.
The set list threw me though. I was expecting this to be drawn from the two albums (now released in the UK on End Of The Road Records) - and the set started with I Live A Lot Of Places, Songbook/The Sound of Us Playing, Emma et Hampus and then In the Battle of Sun vs. Curtains, Sun Loses and We Sleep Until Noon (they do have a penchant for long titles) but then it lost me. I recognised The Hamilton Academicals and Feedbags (and the cover of Abba's 'Lay All Your Love On Me') but the other five or so songs were unfamiliar. One ('Beth Dreams'? 'Beth's Jeans'?) was apparently "written only yesterday". The others I don't think were from Europe-only bonus CD 'Houndstooth Europa' either so I assume are from early EPs or new material?
The band were under a time pressure to complete the set by 11pm "when students will start grinding themselves against each other" for a club night but the performance never felt hurried and the songs were allowed to unfurl at a gentle pace. I could quibble about the short set, the lack of songs from Songbook and the lack of their more up-tempo and elaborate material, but the overall loveliness (no other word for it really) of the band, the music and the atmosphere won me over. So yes the evening had a beard but also a comforting hug and warm smile. It was brought to us by The Red Deer Club and Humble Soul who really should be rather proud of themselves. But yet again I missed The Winter Journey. Which again I hear was a shame.