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Folk Festival 2017 / Review: Party revs up at Clickimin spree

The Revellers' Magnus Bradley on stage at the Clickimin. Photo: Yetti Biscuit/Shetland News

LERWICK was rocking on day two of the Shetland Folk Festival as things flew into full-on party mode at the Clickimin.

The festival’s Spangin’ Spree gig opened up the dance floor to scores of giddy punters eager to start their weekend in style.

The night was topped off by local heroes The Revellers, but there was plenty in the supporting cast to help things reach boiling point.

Isle of Man group Mec Lir were tasked with opening the evening and they did so in assured style as they brought Celtic influence to the fore.

Trad.Attack!'s Sandra Vabarna. Photo: Yetti Biscuit/Shetland News

The instrumental tunes were upbeat, energetic and uplifting, with fiddler Tomas Callister urging the crowd to take “peerie step” forward towards the end of their set to get in on the action.

Let’s Circus were on hand to provide entertainment on the venue’s floor between bands, with Japanese duo Witty Look teaming up with ringmaster Steve Cousins to perform tricks involving empty whisky bottles and toothbrushes – as you do.

Estonian trio Trad.Attack! were up next and they were a highlight as they juggled kinetic ‘turbo-folk’ with an experimental sensibility that saw the group veer down intriguing, exotic paths.

It was their first ever UK gig, but you wouldn’t have known, with their traditional-yet-contemporary sound deserving of a much wider audience.

Tracks like Kooreke were rousing foot-stompers, with the tune using archive spoken word recordings to dip toes in the past while exploring driving rhythms and rock stylings.

It was back to the circus performers during the next change over, with Shetland Islands Council leader Gary Robinson among those plucked from the audience to help out during a skit with a hula-hooper.

Orkney collective The Chair are well-known in the isles having played in Shetland numerous times before, with their group living up to their ‘party band’ billing as they took to the stage.

They thanked the crowd for coming out when they probably had “gardening to do” in the fine weather, but on this showing the audience would have had no regrets over downing the spade and hoe in favour of a night out.

But the end of the night was all about The Revellers. Having headlined the Clickimin in their own right last year, the seven-piece felt at home in front of the many hundreds, with their souped-up folk-rock chutzpah a perfect fit for the Spangin’ Spree.

Songs like New America, which was dedicated to band photographer Dale Smith in his absence from this year’s festival, exuded a grand, rock sheen befitting of their headline status.

It was quickly off to the festival club at Islesburgh Community Centre for many as they continued the festivities, with sale of paracetamol in Lerwick surely set to rocket on Saturday. No-one does a party quite like Shetland does.

Chris Cope