ROOKIE REVIEW: Pilgrimage with the Young Pilgrims

Rookie Reviewer, Ceri Flanagan went along to check Pilgrimage with the Young Pilgrims at the Hare and Hounds, here is what she thought.

Last Friday, I went along to Hare and Hounds to see Pilgrimage with the Young Pilgrims with supporting acts FUR and Cop Music. The night was part of Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s Jazzlines Series which promotes Jazz events throughout the city of Birmingham. Before the concert I was somewhat unsure as to what to expect considering that the band described themselves as a ‘brass band sort of thing’, which understandably left me pondering exactly what sort of genre I would be hearing.

To begin with, I entered a dimly lit room which created a calming ambience and although the performance did not begin until forty minutes after the proposed time, the sound technicians provided some enjoyable music for the audience to listen to. However, as the room began to fill, the band burst on to the stage with a variety of well-rehearsed and flamboyant jazz-influenced pieces. The line-up consisted of a slightly larger number of musicians than I had previously thought and the stage appeared rather crowded with all of the musicians and instruments. Despite this, the band was seemingly in-sync and boasted excellent solo passages, particularly from the young trombonist who took centre-stage and ignited admiration and long applause from the crowd.

The distribution of these solo passages seemed to be somewhat unequal within the group as the band clearly preferred the trombonists to take the lead. However, at a moment when the band was perhaps losing the attention of the audience, the drum player burst into a remarkable improvisation which fixated the audience and again received a lengthy and well-deserved applause.

Moreover, the diverse use of dynamics made the climatic moments particularly memorable. For instance, some pieces began with minimal instrumentation and soft, quiet playing but built up to the climatic moments with very loud playing and a thicker texture. Furthermore, the band’s leading musician encouraged audience participation and interaction and often gave a brief description of each piece before the group proceeded to play, which created a very intimate atmosphere and was well-received by the audience.

However, in contrast to the maximalist sound of the Young Pilgrims, for myself, the stand out moment of the night at the Hare and Hounds was a performance by London- based band FUR. Their unique sound was reminiscent of The Streets with the soft spoken rapping, as well as Canadian group BadBadNotGood with the underlying Jazz accompaniment. I particularly enjoyed their song Tell it to the Vast and I believe that this is a group with huge potential and certainly worth looking out for.

Ceri Flanagan is a student from Birmingham reading for a Bachelor of Science degree in English Language at Aston University. As a keen pianist, guitarist and singer-songwriter, she has always had an interest in live music extending over a variety of genres such as Classical, Rock, Jazz and Soul. She is particularly attracted to music which is innovative, inspiring and original, thus is delighted to have been given the opportunity to review a diverse range of performances at the iconic Town Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.