The Mountains and The Trees/Peter Katz/Super Cannes

The Mountains and the Trees played on Saturday night in Leaf to a crowd rapt. Their acoustic folk styling worked perfectly in the relaxed, informal setting and played with heart-warming skill.

This is music at it’s most comforting, and when accompanied by a cold drink on a hot Saturday night, it is very hard to imagine a better way to spend an evening. The homespun songs are sang with truthful storytelling, and lyrics that are simple and endearing.

Cut glass harmonies and a variety of ingeniously timed instrument changes, including banjo, melodica, harmonica and a brilliant bass-drum suitcase perfect for a deliciously muffled beat in an acoustic setting.

When Jo, the female half of The Mountains and The Trees joins in on vocals, there is a modernised Johnny Cash and June Carter vibe to the affair that is familiar and radiant.

The set is far too short, but this is to be expected, after Taiwanese band Tizzy Bac, the first band on, took so long to get onstage that the whole night is somewhat squeezed, with shorter changeovers and rushed set lists.

Peter Katz is a Canadian folk singer of considerable talent, which shone through beautifully on Saturday night. Immediately demanding the rapt attention of a crowd that were previously somewhat restless.

Katz moulds together folky lyrics and tuneful vocals with simple guitar, almost accapella. Many of the songs are given introductions in the form of stories that give their simple beauty a new layer of depth and bring perspective.

There are songs, like the poetic “Fence Song” that have the ability, even on this muggy evening, to send shivers down the spine. Katz manipulates the atmostphere with considerable deftness, and is even able to step away from the microphone to sing without support in this room silent for his voice.

Super Cannes open their set with a deep, rumbling sound that emerges from the guitarist Davy Murphy’s amps like a warning. The opening song swells to strength and as Richie Taylor’s vocals open, there is an awakening in the audience.

The bass and drums of Super Cannes are the anchor points, grounding the unearthly sounds produced by Murphy’s guitar and it’s dazzling array of pedals. This band look like any other typical indie band, but like their sound, all initial judgements are disproven.

Super Cannes are a band have all the element to potentially clash horribly, but live it is clear this band take their music seriously, and work hard to ensure their music flows smoothly. The sound is a physical, shifting thing and there is no doubt that this quartet is destined for big things.

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