Easdale Island Community Hall
Simon Bradley and Luke Plumb

Simon Bradley and Luke Plumb

Date of Event: Sat 27 Nov 2004
Event Type: Concert
Ticket Pricing: £7 /£6 concs (accompanied under 12s free )
Luke Plumb and Simon Bradley
From an article first published in Easdale People magazine, Issue No 22, Spring/Summer 2005.

What I was interested in was how two men with one instrument each - a fidle and a bouzouki - might be able to keep an audience interested for a whole evening's performance. In fact they had us spell bound.

Manchester man Simon Bradley is a fidler of immense resourcefulness, having been at the heart of the tradition for many years, whilst his accompanist Luke Plumb, (of Shooglenifty), from Tasmania brings a freshness and lightness to the music, simultaneously driving it along and embellishing the tunes with an intricate fiigree of ornamentation. There is a long tradition of duos of fidle-plus-stringed accompaniment, such as Tommy Peoples and Paul Brady, Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn, and, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, but Simon and Luke bring their own unique slant to the music, which they draw from various strands of Irish, Scottish and Asturian traditions with which they have had contact.

The tone of the performance was lighthearted, with anecdotes delivered by Simon with his inimitable Mancunian humour between the sets of tunes. This repartee paved the way for some incredibly poised playing. Each set took us, the audience, on a journey away from this care-worn and busy life to a place of harmony, gentle reflection, and humourous beauty - a meditatative experience which made the evening seem very short indeed.

It was with some degree of envy that I noticed the simplicity of Simon and Luke's set-up on-stage. I couldn't help comparing their streamlined, minimal use of equipment, to the hideously complex arrangement of gear which "Orchestra Macaroon", the band I play with, currently uses. Luke and Simon simply bring their own high-quality microphones with them, plug them in, stand in front of them and off they go. No monitors, no feedback - a sound engineer's dream, and in this way they manage to achieve a directness of presence in their performance, unencumbered by excess technology!

Suddenly we realised that the concert had come to an end, time having stood still for two hours. We all piled into The Puffer for a pint and a tune with the lads, who were good enough to join us after a recuperative pint.

Let's hope they manage to make a return visit to these shores sometime in the future, and treat us to another glimpse of the music they know.

review: Colin Blakey
Simon Bradley
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