Effra @stjamesvaults for @bathfringe

Effort performing at St James Wine Vaults, Bath

It was a dreary, soggy, grey evening; not the weather for trudging across the city unless you’re guaranteed a spectacular night of music. Thankfully, I had prior knowledge of what to expect, so my drenched walk was well worth it.

It was a very welcoming dry interior at St James Wine Vaults, a venue which, together with RMT Music Productions, is continuing to provide an excellent source of top performers.

The performers I was there to see were Effra, who describe themselves as “temporally opaque hyper-folk”, which is fairly accurate. However, they’re overly humble about their status in the folk genre. ‘Folk music’ is such an all-encompassing term these days that I’m sure some people are playing it unintentionally.

The difference between Effra and a lot of folk musicians is simple, Effra aren’t boring. The music is full of fun, suspense, mystery, sorrow and a whole bunch of emotions bundled into a stupendously good set. There’s an air of mischief to their music, but also in their attitudes. You just don’t get sick of it, you don’t want it to end.

Mumford’s sons would have kittens if they were put on the same bill as these three, but Aiden, Alex and Tom would be the first to deny that; being a very unpretentious group who will call a song ‘Loft’, because it was written in a loft. Certainly less pretentious than a chap named Mumford calling the rest of the members of his band “son”.

Effra produced a seamless blending of instruments, so you hardly know where to point your ears, but simultaneously create a beautiful fusion of songs, which make you want to go gambol in a field or start a bare-knuckle fight with an Irishman or quit your job and become a grizzled salty fisherman.

Effort performing at St James Wine Vaults, Bath
Effort performing at St James Wine Vaults, Bath

Aiden’s hands fly across the keys frantically, but his face has all the cool and calm composure of a monk saying his daily prayers. Tom’s violin skills whether plucking or seesawing with the bow are effortless, yet exceptional. Alex displays such enthusiasm, you can tell guitars are his true passion, grinning like a child who just got a puppy for Christmas as his fingers tap-dance across the strings. It’s a surprise any of them can hold a pint by the end of the set, but somehow they managed it.

I had a chat with Alex and asked him what the band’s plans were. He said they’re chipping away at the UK folk scene, try to make their mark and recording an album in August. They also have a good few festivals lined up over the summer, including the Bath Folk Festival. So if you missed them this time you’ll be able to see them on 7 August at Widcombe Social Club, I think.

Effra were supported by Galleons on the night, a whimsical trio of folk songsters, displaying a pleasant mix of guitars and vocals. I caught the last half of their set and maybe I’ll hear the rest of it in the future.

When I spoke to Alex, he said he hoped their performance would warrant at least a 3 out of 5. The music was superb, the onstage banter was excellent, the door price £6 was worth it considering the quality of music and the distance the musicians had to travel and I left feeling like I’d witnessed something special.

Performance: 4 out of 5

Well done RMT Promotions on another excellent gig. I’m reliably informed RMT have a super phsych gig coming up this Sunday, if you fancy a gig fueled by bands paying tribute to the best of psychedelia along with some trippy visuals.

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