LIVE REVIEW: THE TURBANS, THE BROTHERS GILLESPIE @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle (04.11.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The Turbans

Tucked away in the heart of Ouseburn, somewhere between the Cluny and the Biscuit Factory, lies Cobalt Studios, a hub of artistry and culture that takes on a real beatnik vibe tonight as The Brothers Gillespie take to the stage.  We could be at Woodstock or, more aptly, Central Park in 1981 before the rise of the materialistic ‘80s as the assembled audience take to the floor, cross-legged in anticipation of the self-claimed Bardic troubadours of the Northern wilds. 

The comparisons with Simon & Garfunkel are unavoidable at first, even the fashions on display are of another time, but these are two brothers with their own unique harmonies and both equally adept on their respective guitar and fiddle.  The intricate musicianship on Devilswater – from their 2015 release, Songs From The Outlands – in particular is breathtaking and the hushed audience watch on as the brothers feel their way into the set, shrugging off comparisons with their own brand of folk set far away from San Francisco in the wildling areas of the Northumbrian and Scottish border.  That they’re brothers too can be in no doubt, with the kind of intuitiveness and second-guessing that only blood relations can aspire too on the likes of Golden One and the mesmerising and magical set closer, The Banks Of The Liffey. 

Pushing the international boundaries that bit further tonight are headliners The Turbans, who can count both Kathmandu and Hexham as their home.  Forming in Nepal in 2009, guitarist Oshan Mahony is a North East native so a Newcastle debut was long overdue.  The real fire burning and cauldron bubbling on the eve of Guy Fawkes is within these Ouseburn walls, as The Turbans’ unique concoction of Eastern and Mediterranean traditional folk music finds an international and modern flavouring cooked up by a set of ever-evolving musicians from all over the globe. 

The vibe is electric and even Mahony sports a Flying-V electric guitar more often found within the confines of arena and stadium rock, but the folk origins and energetic set creates a temperature and atmosphere that shimmies and sways just as the spellbound audience who dance hypnotically in the band’s wake.  Altogether, a magical and fiery night.

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