London Folk Magazine and News
John Langan and Alastair Caplin
On Saturday the 10th of February, two thirds of the folk trio The Langan Band played at The Harrison pub supported by Bird in the Belly.
You might know John Langan (guitar and vocals) and Alastair Caplin (violin) as members of the successful celtic folk group The Langan Band. Infamous for their international influences and punk-esque sensibilities, their sets usually get pretty lively. But tonight, as a duo, Langan and Caplin turn the dial down to ‘chill’.
The night began with a few lovely songs from the emerging band Bird in the Belly. They claim that this was their second ever live show, but the way they played made that hard to believe.
Anyone familiar with The Langan Bands’ usual style of performing will be aware that tranquility isn’t exactly what they’re known for. Sure, their sets can start calmly enough, but once they really get started, there’s not a still pair of feet in the house.
But the set played that night by the pair struck a different chord. This was an evening to sit back, relax with a drink in your hand, and close your eyes as the music washed over you. Langan and Caplin began with a lovely cover of the Mexican folk song La LLorona, a tune they typically perform with the full band. With it, they set the tone for the rest of the night rather than giving into their usually lively chaos. It made a refreshing change, but anyone familiar with the live atmosphere they usually cultivate likely wound up hungry for more.
With the exception of La LLorona, the songs the two performed that evening played more to their Celtic and Gypsy folk influences. Their line up was simple, but the sound they are capable of producing is anything but.
The duos style of playing was laid back, even tender at times. With the exception of some singing along towards the end of the set, the audience was raptly silent as they listened to the classic folk songs and poetry pouring forth from the two of them.
While the tone of the evening differed from the Langan usual, the calibre of the performance remained the same. The duo made their way through every song, in multiple languages, with apparent ease. Langan’s vocals were on point, and if Caplin played a bum note, no one heard it.
Review by Aidan Millan