...light-hearted, mellow vibe

Sam Genders has stopped playing his guitar and singing.

He can’t continue the song. Not due to a diva-esque tantrum or sudden debilitating catastrophe but because he’s laughing after mistakenly singing ‘goat’ instead of ‘coat’ in one of his lyrics. No-one seems to mind however, and soon enough the crowd are laughing with him, as the rest of the band join in the banter.

In a way, this incident sums up the light-hearted, mellow vibe of folk collective The Accidental. Indeed, the group’s name is an anecdotal reference to how the band took shape through a series of chance encounters and random meetings of its members, who happen to include some of the modern folk scene’s most interesting people: Sam Genders from Tunng, Stephen Cracknell from The Memory Band (and co-founder of Trunk Records), Hannah Caughlin from The Bicycle Thieves and singer-songwriter Liam Bailey.

Tonight’s show (in the suitably intimate Hanbury Ballroom, complete with awe-inspiring domed glass ceiling) is made up almost exclusively of material from beguiling recent debut ‘There Were Wolves’, but despite repeated listens to the album, hearing the songs played live keeps them fresh and interesting. The subtle Tunng-like electronic undertones are left out of the show, leaving it down to the guitars and vocals – a fitting set-up for a group whose brand of folk is based largely around gentle vocal harmonies and warm fingerpicked melodies. In fact, such is the music’s charm that even a song about almost getting glassed by a grandmother in a seedy pub sounds enticing.

Despite a lack of cello (as Sam Genders puts it: “We do normally have someone playing cello but Tindersticks are paying him more money tonight.” Fair enough.), the beautiful ‘Illuminated Red’ is still as endearing as on record, as are ‘Wolves’ and a slightly extended version of album opener ‘Knock Knock’ which the band finish on. A superb beginning for a group who will no doubt make waves in both the folk sphere and further afield, as well they deserve to.


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