...a unity of eyes and firelight...

A Hawk and a Hacksaw

In Live Reviews, Music on April 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

(supported by Dan Haywood’s New Hawks and The Family Elan)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Islington Mill, Salford

One man on an accordion, one man on a trumpet and one woman on a violin.  That’s a recipe for a riot, isn’t it?

On paper it all seems rather twee.  One reads of an accordion and thinks of Yann Tiersen of Amelie fame.  While I rather like that pleasantly caricatured French sound, this was something else altogether, taking its influences more from Eastern European gypsy folk than the dusty villages of Brittany.

This was resolutely not twee, not French, not easy and not soothing, but actually dirty and sensual.  There was dancing in the crowd in the form of bouncing and bopping, but also a writhing of a more sexual nature.  And it was infectious – after the Eastern European man in front of me began to writhe like a belly dancer on speed, it spread all around us.  The film I was reminded of here was not Amelie, but actually Sholay, in particular the scene in which Gabbar Singh watches the gypsies dancing.

After a breathless set, they disappeared and backing music began to play.  For a few disappointed seconds, we thought there would be no encore.  And then they re-emerged in the crowd, playing acoustically.  They had two more tunes to play –  first an upbeat number which got everyone dancing again, before a slower one, almost a ballad.

The crowd was stunned into complete silence, quiet enough to hear the creak of the leather on the accordion.

This was magical.  A Hawk and a Hacksaw were unforgettable.

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