Just found this review of the Dust Poets London show at 12 bar. This was a comically tiny venue and for our first show in the capital of the British empire we were delighted with the crowd. Hopefully next time we're over we'll have the standing room only crowd that this writer suggests.
Canadian 5 piece ensemble Dust Poets were playing after their success at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. I had not heard a bad word about them so the sparseness of the crowd was something of a shock. Maybe I fall in love too easily; it only took the opening bars of "Walk Away" a song about "the urban sprawl that is happening in Canada" to get me. Murray D Evans' harmonica and acoustic guitar was immediate and forthright; the bass of Gord Mowat and the percussion of Sean McManus were relentless; the accordion of Karla Ferguson and guitar of Corey Ticknor [sic, actually Lloyd Peterson] were cutting.
The real beauty of the Dust Poets lays in their ability to change instruments or singers to suit any given song; McManus sang and Ticknor [Peterson] played mandolin on the "Faux Grass" number "Won't Sit Down", on "Change it All" Ferguson sang and McManus played clarinet. If Ticknor [Peterson] was a footballer he would be the ultimate utility player as, as well as guitar and mandolin, he took over percussion when McManus was blowing his clarinet and, on "Hold on For Love" he played pedal steel (although not on stage - there was not enough room). This allowed for a larger, more complex sound to be produced than would seem to be possible with just five band members as their set felt complete rather than just a series of individual tracks.
They finished their set with an Elvis cover; Costello's "Veronica" showing that not only can they write great songs, they can also interpret them. Everything I heard about the Dust Poets at Shrewsbury was right, it's a shame that there were not more people to witness it in the 12 Bar.