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Reviews / Spider-fingered guitarists provide whirlwind

The four guitarists whip up a frenzy in Mareel. (l-r) Brian Gore, Andre Krengel, Mike Dawes and Lulo Reinhardt. Photo: Chris Brown

A CANTANKEROUS Shetland gale was whipping around Mareel on Tuesday night – but there was a whirlwind of an entirely different kind through its doors in the auditorium.

Those safely seated away from the elements were treated to a typhoon of acoustic guitar virtuosity, with notes ricocheting around the room and jaws periodically dropping to the floor.

The International Guitar Night took up residence at the Lerwick venue for the evening, bringing four spider-fingered players to the stage – Lulo Reinhardt, Brian Gore, Mike Dawes and Andre Krengel.

It was billed as a global gathering of some of Europe’s finest acoustic guitarists, in addition to the event’s American founder Gore, with a variety of solo spots, duets and quartet collaborations promised.

Word must not have filtered through to the Shetland public, with around only 50 folk in attendance – or maybe it was the weather…

It was up to Gore to open the evening, carefully cradling his guitar on his lap, with the reflective Silverado Squatters an emotive choice for starters.

Each player had two solo songs to impress, with the baton being passed onto German Krengel, who bounded through blitzkrieg Spanish guitar licks.

He hoped to speak through his elastic melodies, and Looking Out For Peace promoted pacifism with a serene finale that followed some boisterous runs.

The engaging and experimental Englishman Mike Dawes took the reins next and he utilised just about every inch of his instrument, from the percussive dunks on the body to floaty harmonics at the end of the neck.

An impressive one-man-band rendition of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know showed why he’s racked up millions of YouTube hits to date.

Lulo Reinhardt, sitting stage left, appeared to be the elder statesman of the quartet, exuding a calm reverence throughout.

The great-nephew of the legendary Django Reinhardt took the pace up a level though with blistering toe-tapping flamenco chops – Waltz For One, for example, was a swirling, jazzy cocktail of melody and rhythm.

The true magic, however, came with the many collaborations; the “too many cooks” saying has never quite been so redundant. A Gore and Krengel duet cut deep; “even when you suffer, there is beauty in life”, the German said, while Reinhardt and Dawes’ Pour Amine, penned by the former, was a highlight, with haunting chord progressions piercing through the air.

The night was capped off by all four guitarists merging as one, with Dawes’ bouncing Boogie Shred giving a platform for all axemen to showcase their skills. The encore fell to a cover of David Guetta’s dance anthem Titanium – an odd choice, but one that raised smiles, with Mareel’s lighting tech asked to rave it up in the chorus without prior warning.

As you left the auditorium, you saw the dour, winter weather still raging on outside. The heart-warming whirlwind of music, melody and merriment imbibed over the previous two and a half hours, however, certainly made up for it.

Chris Cope

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