Gig review: Don Kipper, Crowland Abbey, 7th April 2019 @DonKipper @CrowlandAbbey #DonKipper #CrowlandAbbey #TurkishMusic #TurkishFasil #JewishMusic #Klezmer #RomaniMusic #GreekMusic #GreekRebetiko #NorthAfricanMusic #MacedonianMusic

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Sunday 7th April was to be something fairly new for us – we generally go and see loud Punk and Rock bands, but we fancied something different for a change. We had listened to Don Kipper online but never had the fortune to witness them in a live setting until then.

We turned up to find a semicircle of chairs laid out near the Nave of the Abbey facing a bizarre collection of seldom seen instruments which immediately intrigued and surprised us.

Clarinet player Daniel Gouly was off to the side playing a little tune to his ancient Jewish counterparts before practically skipping back down the aisle to join the rest of the band pre-gig.

We didn’t have to wait many minutes before welcoming the whole band to the stage area – a mesmerising set of characters, each an individual and impossible to take your eyes off.

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They struck up their instruments… and it was quite possibly the most sublime sound I’ve ever heard. Each note hit every part of the inside of that beautifully dark Abbey – even Gouly had a “Wow, I’ve never heard anything like this before” look on his face. Truly joyful, completely triumphant.

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This was the first time ever that this ancient Saxon heritage Abbey had resonated to the almost alien but breathtaking tones of the near Eastern and Yiddish scales.

There is a heavy influence of Romani Music in what they do, but don’t go thinking that’s all they are – there is a Heinz 57 variety hot pot of complimentary eastern styles; fascinating Jewish Klezmer, stunning Turkish love songs, energetic Northern Greek & Macedonian dances and pulsating North African rhythms.

Drummer Timmy Doyle seemed to have the look of a Baltic Norseman and played like a demon. I never realised drums could be so musical sounding, but when combined with the complimenting acoustics of the church it blew my mind.

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The eccentric Ian Anderson-esque accordion and duda (I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called!) player Josh Middleton and the little Jewish hat loving Gouly had an obviously special bond and worked off each other each inspiring and delighting the other in their interplay.

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Tim Karp is a guitarist with subtle Jazz chops as well as a smooth Hungarian Minor byzantine scale phrases, however he really shines when picking up the 12 string oud and the haunting tones of this traditional Turkish instrument transports us to the Bosporus and Constantinople.

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Then there is singer Dunja Botic. Oh my. I have honestly never heard a voice so entrancing. She has an intense richness to her voice that is rare to hear. Because she sings in languages other than English, you notice it a lot more as you’re not focusing so much on the words she is singing. It makes you realise the voice truly is an instrument and when practised can be something incredibly special.

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I’m still stunned by what I witnessed that Sunday evening and we are so glad we chose to attend. We will definitely be seeing them again.

You can follow Don Kipper on facebook, twitter and instagram and buy their wonderful music on their website.

Set list

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Gig Review: Ruts DC and The Professionals, Cambridge Junction,17th Feb 2019 @therutsdc @cambjunction

Where do you go to when you think that punk rock has turned old and grey? Why, the Junction in Cambridge of course… to witness two classic late seventies punk icons that still have a fire burning in their bellies and serious skills to demonstrate.

The Professionals

The Professionals offer a smorgasbord of familiar faces and ice cool talent – Tom Spencer (The Yo Yos) Toshi from Anti-Product and Hey Hello!, Chris McCormack from 3 Colours Red and of course a real live Sex Pistol – Paul Cook.

Chris’s guitar produced a sound that could disembowel wildebeest.

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Toshi took great pleasure in stalking the stage looking and sounding cool as hell – it was impossible to take your eyes off him.

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Spencer doesn’t seem at all fazed by being in Steve Jones’ place – and rightly so, he very much pulls it off. His vocals are joyous, his manner modest and his energy relentless. Kudos.

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At 62 years of age Cook still has attack determination and is tight as fuck. He is clearly very, very happy to be doing his thing and that was a pleasure to behold.

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An exciting, slick set – main highlights for me were Bad Baby, Silly Thing and Kick Down the Doors.

Ruts DC

Ruts DC more than did justice to “The Crack” album – albeit a marginally less frantic delivery than 1979 but with polish and class. Since 2011 Ruts DC has consisted of John “Segs” Jennings, Dave Ruffy and Leigh Heggarty.

Ruffy’s drumming in particular was demonstrative and tasteful throughout.

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Leigh Heggarty has the skills and understanding to be able to pull off Paul Fox’s intricate and often eloquent guitar parts with ease.

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Segs is a man with a glint in his eye, knowing he is filling shoes that are not his own. He does a seamless job of mimicry and impressionism, although Malcolm Owen’s feral 1979 snarl is replaced by something smoother and more matured.

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Highlights include the staggering Jah War, Human Punk, SUS and Out of Order.

It was almost blissful to hear this entire classic record in its original sequence.

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Ruts DC are as potent and relevant as they ever were, if you’ve not witnessed them live yet you bloody well need to.

I was blown away.

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