Review: Folly and the Hunter @ The Castle, Manchester

Folly and the Hunter are a band who sit somewhere between Sigur Ros and Frightened Rabbit in terms of sound.

There’s an ambience created from their wailing, atmospheric synths and catchy folk riffs both on record and in their live performances that manages to make their noise fuller than it should with just three instrumentalists.

Hailing from Montreal, Folly have already supported the likes of Canadian folk talent Half Moon Run and The Barr Brothers and are currently touring the UK with material from their 2015 record Awake.

Speaking to MM before the gig, lead singer of Folly, Nick Vallee had good words to say about previous tours of the UK: “I love driving through the countryside here, it’s so picturesque.

“The UK is a tough nut to crack, but it’s very rewarding when you get positive feedback from the people you play for.

“I remember there was a really nice guy from Edinburgh who drove for 3 hours to see us. It’s always touching when something like that happens.”

When asked about where the name of the band came from, Nick responded that it came from an old song: “A song about chasing something you will never catch.”

It seems that Folly are having some success with chasing recognition here in the UK.

A handful of fans were present at their gig at The Castle Hotel last Monday, which was an appropriately intimate setting for Folly’s striking indie-folk sound.

The supports for the gig also played great sets that were well suited alongside Folly.

Singer song-writer Liam Mclair brought sensitive, well written folk rock to the stage while girl-group Canter Semper’s stripped down four part harmonies made for a relaxed and slowed down atmosphere.

Folly took to the stage and played a collection of songs mainly taken from their latest release Awake and it certainly made an impression with the crowd.

It was hard not to smile at the low growl of their synthesisers and the powerful drum beats that injected rhythm and energy to the band’s uplifting tunes and catchy melodies.

Before the gig, Nick had told MM that the new record was written with “more upfront pop songs” that their previous material had, and this element of their song writing is clear to see during a live performance.

An interlude mid-set saw lead singer Nick play a solo cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, a song that, it has to be said, didn’t really fit with the rest of their set and didn’t fully come off live.

Despite that, it was still an original take on a very well known song and provided a lull that added another dimension to Folly’s set.

The band wrapped up the set with powerful title track Awake, a folk-rock anthem that wouldn’t feel out of a place on a Mumford and Sons record.

The rousing chorus of “this is a child’s fear/ I’m staying right here” showed Folly’s ability to not just write folk ballads, but to also provide an audience with life-affirming tunes to sing along to as well.

It’s this versatility that will set Folly up in good stead for the future, and cements them as a band who are one to watch over the next five years. 

Image courtesy of Folly and the Hunter via Youtube, with thanks.

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