Erland and the Carnival, Hannah Peel: Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

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Despite the carnival in the crowd, Erland fails to breach the fourth dimension while it’s undercard Hannah Peel that provides Getintothis’ Liza Williams with much to revel in.


THE reception had reached almost hysterical proportions. Men built like bouncers were practically weeping.
I thought their reaction was a bit over the top.
It’s not that the ideas behind Erland and the Carnival‘s show are unimpressive.
Their brand of paganesque folk, awash with analogue keyboard effects and ethereal vocals, should be exciting.
But during their set at Williamson Tunnels the sound seemed less measured and haunting than on record.
There was less definition between songs and melodies merged into one, meaning their special atmospheric sound got a bit lost.
The band are made up of a promising mix of British musical stalwarts and young blood.
Folk guitarist and singer Gawain Erland Cooper heads the line-up with his bewitching vocals. He is joined by ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong and drummer David Nock, who was in The Orb.
This pedigree was obvious in the band’s technical performance, and Erland’s vocals were note perfect throughout.
But the band were not breaking into a musical fourth dimension, and at times it seemed the audience believed they were.
Sections of the crowd almost exploded after every track.
The soaring chorus of My Name is Carnival and catchy melody of Map of an Englishman showed off an anthemic quality to the performance.
And despite Erland’s obvious belief in the band, he wasn’t arrogant, was genuinely pleased with the positive reception and proved to be engaging.
But to claim their set was some kind of cult performance would be way off the mark.
In contrast the band’s supporting act, LIPA graduate Hannah Peel, presented something all together more refreshing.

Opening with a cover of Blue Monday on her delicate sounding music box, she charmed her audience.
Fenced in by a set of keyboards she barely moved from the spot she stood, capturing the crowd with her pitch perfect voice and engaging manner.
Her stand out track, Almond Tree, a beautiful but almost menacing folk song, was performed with style and powerful stage presence.
The acts did collaborate during both sets, and the results were impressive, it really worked. Maybe Erland and the Carnival just need a bit of the female touch.

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