Photos and review by Jack Pieri
Halcyon days were magically cherished again at the Buffalo, NY premiere concert club, the Tralf, thanks to a splendidly enchanted evening from legendary classic folk/prog/rock group, The (Acoustic) Strawbs!
The moderately full sized crowd was graciously treated to an extremely intimate and mystical journey, through the ages of space and passages of time. Picture what musical masterpieces can paint internally, given such profound performing artistry, in such a spiritually sacred way. The trio is comprised and led by founding member David Cousins (vocals, guitar), Dave Lambert (guitar, vocals) and Chas Cronk (bass, vocals).
From the opening ground breaking number “The Man who Called Himself Jesus,” it was clear that Cousins vocals, despite not being conventional whatsoever, was still up to par and very similar to Ian Anderson. He spoke very passionately of all the tunes performed, in a chronological, 'story tellers' type fashion, clearly, and especially on the up beat driven number “New World.” This was folk prog rock at it's purist, with a slightly psychedelic edge! The trio’s heavenly harmonies were simply delightful on “How She Changed With Every Passing Day,” and thankfully, the extremely potent music has not (despite not having an electric backing).
The ever so memorable show had yet another stand out, ultra real live moment, when Cousin’s guitar was far too distorted to be further played anymore. As he asked to borrow another one, he told the crowd this was rare, since it has never happened to him before. As he was then perfectly tuned up, the loyal fans witnessed him magnificently playing the sitar, in the utmost richly textured, finger plucking “stringtastic” way, on the highlight gem “Midnight Sun.” Intimate solos shined from all band mates as they generously and effortlessly traded off lick after lick!
Although the group's signature trademark song "Part of the Union" was absent from their 90 min superb set, the closing number, “Lay Down,” demonstrated just how much their multi layered 'vintage' songs are abundantly filled with unique, majestic brilliance, both vocally and musically. A standing ovation applauded a very distinguished musical night that was paramount on all levels.
Furthermore, major kudos to the insightful and imaginative literate lyrics, which were powerfully presented, in the most personal and even sometimes consciously ancient sounding demeanor, especially in the contents delivery. How can anyone resist such a bardic, intricate mix of masterful acoustic musicianship, and of course, ethical and spiritual satires, characterized by beloved folk tale lullabies come to life?
Perhaps a slightly debatable acquired taste, and with the ultra stripped down format, some of the signature orchestral arrangements were missed, but nonetheless, breathtaking imagery and melodic prog folk rock once again reached a new high…“Deja Fou”!
The Strawbs David Cousins with RockMusicStar's Jack Pieri
Special Thanks to Anne Leighton for allowing us to review this show.