O’Hooley and Tidow Live

Anyone who read my last post on O’Hooley and Tidow will know that I’m feeling very loved up about this folk duo. I went to see them play in Lewes at the Elephant and Castle on Saturday night. They did not disappoint. As we walked to the car afterwards my wife Rachel said ” Well, I guess they were the best singers I’ve ever seen” . Rachel is not prone to gushing complements, so that meant something, I can tell you.

The singing was amazing- as the evening progressed the sound soared higher and bigger and gained in intensity. On some it was hard to believe  just two women were singing.  On songs like ‘Like Horses’, and ‘Kitsune’  they got this great big layered, choral sound.  You don’t need an orchestra for sweeping dramatics if you’re this good at singing. The records are fantastic but you have to see them live to get this big sound.

A night of great singing is a treat but this was  much more. I’ve been under the spell of their writing for  weeks.  They played songs that are an immediate delight like ‘Summat’s Brewing’,  ‘Pass it On’, or ‘A Day Trip’. ‘A Day Trip’ was fabulous on Friday- it’s a lovely melody, skipping along with a story of an elderly couple going for a trip to Blackpool. It’s full of sparkling details that make it hard to believe the pair are made up.

They played songs that are a challenge- songs that finely craft  big images to explore big ideas-‘ The Hum’, Like Horses’, ‘Peculiar Brood’, and ‘Kitsune’.  I love ‘Kitsune’. It’s a great epic song of a fox who transforms into a human lover. It’s full of feral mystery- Heidi’s dusky voice suits the nocturnal wildness perfectly. One of my favourite moments on Friday was their musical poem of ancestry and migration- ‘Come Down From The Moor’.

And they played songs that go straight for the heart and make the tears fall before you can think why: ‘Two Mothers’, ‘The Last Polar Bear’, and ‘One More Xmas’. I was very very happy they sang ‘One more Xmas’. I wrote about it last time so I won’t start on the gushing adjectives again. Just to say, I looked round the room during the song  and saw a lot of tears. One guy was sobbing:head down,  shoulders shaking.

They celebrate the  lonely and ignored. They strive for social change. They love people and nature. They inspire me to work harder on the most useful and positive bits of my work. They radiate warmth, enjoyment and are very funny. They made my wife want to get a new tattoo. They made several grown men sob with a sense of shared human experience.


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2 Comments on “O’Hooley and Tidow Live”

  1. Daien Says:

    You always bring a wee bit of magic into my day every time you write. Thank you, Ed, I wish I’d been there.

  2. edboxall Says:

    Reblogged this on Ed Boxall and commented:

    I’m re-posting this because O’Hooley and Tidow are coming to my home town of Hastings on October 9th. They’re playing the Electric Palace. Please check out http://ohooleyandtidow.com/ to get your tickets!

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