Flook

Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston ~ Sat 6 March 2004

Then Saturday night Flook made what we believe was their first appearance at Boston's Blackfriars Arts Centre. The band appeared a few years back at Lincoln Folk Festival, and Sarah Allen has performed locally with the Barely Works and later with the duo Big Jig at Boston Folk Club.

This was the 13th and final date of Flook's current UK tour. The multi-talented band treated the sizeable audience to a night of delightful tunes from a variety of sources. Many are self composed pieces, including such gems as 'The Ghost Of Ballybrolly', two tunes written for Sarah's grannies, 'Granny In The Attic' and 'Blue Ball' and the comically titled 'Larry Get Out Of The Bin'.

Members of the band introduced each tune set with the often funny stories behind them. These include the origin of the 'Ghost', should you ever have encountered a mysterious apparition on the outskirts of this small Irish village in the distant past, go along to a Flook concert to find out the story behind a spooky figure that haunted a stretch of road each Saturday night! 'Larry' is written about a former Irish Champion greyhound who since his retirement from the track spends a lot of his time happily rummaging in bins!

Flook's unique sound is based round the flutes and whistles of Sarah Allen and Brian Finnegan, they play a variety of instruments from long metal and wood flutes to the short 'E sharp' whistles, in addition Sarah played accordion on some numbers.

Guitarist Ed Boyd and bodhran player John Joe Kelly providing the underpinning rhythm. Few in the audience will forget the bodrhan solo from Kelly towards the end of the evening, with just a slender stick, one skin on its circular wooden frame he recreated all the elements of a full drum solo, from the sharper sounds of the hi-hats and cymbals to rim shots, drum rolls round a kit full of drums and the underlying bass beat. With the incredible dexterity and movement in such playing, its not surprising that towards the end of the evening John Joe was regularly applying Wintergreen lotion to his wrists and lower arms to aid his playing. Earlier for one number he and Ed had provided a 70's style rhythm backing reminiscent in style to the Average White Band. Another piece gave those close to the stage to opportunity to study Kelly's flying brushes and the techniques he employs to produce the various sound intensities, from the light brush touches to the heavier bass beats, fascinating!

Whilst most of their repertoire has a Celtic feel, some other Eastern European tunes were featured during their entertaining show which was over all too soon though the audience's enthusiastic response brought the band back for a well deserved encore.