Erland & the Carnival @ Exeter Phoenix 05.04.11

Noble Exeter sees its comers and goers lifting its pompous nose above the weak and those that leave the town so abruptly. Three dark coated travellers drive into the town (a classic choice would be a horse and cart) bearing instruments readying themselves to play a night of witchcraft tunes and mystic songs at The Phoenix.

Apr 5th, 2011 at Exeter Phoenix / By Joshua Edwards
Erland & the Carnival @ Exeter Phoenix 05.04.11 Fronted by the talented Gawain Erland Cooper; the band Erland & The Carnival step onto stage bearing ripped suits and wolf masks, a subtle accordion note is played by Gawain, and the show begins with avant-garde, surrealist tune ‘Emmeline’ The energy of the show stays dark and aghast purely for the entertainment of the audience (who appreciate such a detailed atmospheric gig). The beginning of the set keeps the idea of mystery for the band as they play their folk orientated Ralph Vaughan Williams inspired songs; showcasing the guitar talent of former Verve guitarist Simon Tong, and the enchanting vocals of Mr Erland Cooper.

A band of very few words; they keep themselves to themselves but provide the audience with each song as a passionate piece of art that they had crafted there and then and dedicate a show solely to these works. The small stage of The Phoenix can barely contain these beasts of music as they howl out tune after tune till their encore, where time is the only constraint on these folk rockers.

With the final ambiguous songs played by the trio and lights of the stage brightening during the odd major key songs (‘Stack O' Lee’,’This Night’), one can only think what goes through these three beings heads when they speak of the dark arts so emotionally. Are they really not of this modern world? Or are they simply one of the few people in this world that wish to censure parts of it? We are not these geniuses of the minor key folk songs and lyrics. So we might never know.