Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra Spiegeltent

Sometimes the problem with musicians playing a genre of music that they like and admire that is alien to their culture means that what you get is – however well played – a reflection of the original rather than the genuine article.
So when you find a band from this side of the Atlantic that can take old time Americana, throw in a touch of Cajun and a sprinkling of ragtime and early jazz and write a whole lot of catchy numbers that sound like they were written a generation or two before they were born, then ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

And the Spiegeltent provided the perfect home for the band – if you didn’t know better, you might be convinced that they were touring the country with it, pitching the tent wherever they thought suitable for a gig.

Right from the opening “Danse de la Limonade” they created exactly the atmosphere that a festival needs, and they didn’t let up all night. Drawing on material from their two albums “Money isn’t Everything” and “Talk About the Weather”, Rob Heron lead the band through a couple of sets that defied you not to have a good time. While the music is undoubtedly American in influence, they referenced their Newcastle origins with “The Great Fire of Byker” (a local scrapyard disaster) and threw in a (fairly dubious!) local link by claiming that “Penny Drop Mambo” was a traditional East Lothian dance.

Well-crafted and witty songs played with energy and a style that seems to come naturally to them, these guys give you a great night out whether you’re up for a dance, or sitting listening with a pint in your hand. They’ll be back in town in a few months; if you missed them this time, don’t make the same mistake again.

Jim Welsh