THE UNTHANKS (a Poem from the Westy number 21)
Tonight is the 37th of the tour and there are only two dates left. They've taken a week off
halfway through to appear on the radio with Jools Holland, record In The Bleak Midwinter
for BBC4, and just to chill out because playing somewhere new each night is just as hard
as mining three miles underground or drinking six pints of Newcastle brown each night.
Sisters Rachel and Becky (who was a wee bit ill) do the intros and talk about
Geordieland, rosé, the Mercury Music Award, Lucky Gilchrist, who wasn't that lucky
as he died the previous year, and singing sad, melancholy songs that lost me
after a few lines as they were filled with words like mair, kye, hinny, yem, barnie
and bleezin that this poor Southener didn't understand. No one else in the audience
seem to have any problems but I know most of them have seen the band before.
The octet are enthusiastic as light keep changing instruments and I count at least three
different people on the throne behind the drums. I can't take my eyes off the dulictone
on top of the piano that when strummed was as beautiful as a piece of woodland thick
with bluebells. Before Betsey Bell Rachel mentions the Penguin Café Orchestra
and during the song Becky starts clog dancing and I was taken back the that square
in Durham where I was the target of four columns of cloggers cracking the cobblestones
with their immortal shoes. Next thing I remember is being carried off to bed
waking in the morning grunting and coughing, thinking I'd caught something from Becky,
a virus carried through the air by the words mair, kye, hinny, yem, barnie and bleezin.