If you are a lover of Folk music, then Brighton is a small Folk town with a big seaside problem. If you are not such a lover, then it is a small seaside town with a big Folk problem. Traditionally defined by storytelling, acoustic instruments and representing your people, there are many derivatives of Folk music that can be heard in abundance at open mics or gigs. So what would make you stand out from these throngs of Folksters? Warsaw Radio (or W.R) could certainly give a few pointers:
1) Good songs. At one open mic, a gentleman treated us to such classics as ‘My Dick is Like a Maggot Sitting on a Brillo Pad’. This would certainly make you stand out, but not for the right reasons. There may be others afflicted with this physical anomaly, but I can’t imagine the song having wide spread appeal. Warsaw Radio have crafted some good songs like ‘Give it All to Fear’ and ‘After Eden’. Based on stories and real human emotions, they can take you places that ‘Maggot Dick’ cannot.
2) Get a classically trained violinist to accompany and support the melodies with soaring beauty. W.R have Nicola Bates from the English Chamber and Brighton Philharmonic Orchestras.
3) A great performance. W.R are tight and professional. Brian McNamara’s voice is outstanding in power and tone. Add in some dynamics from the rest of the band and the roofs of some Brighton venues have bulged in the struggle to contain all that sound.
4) Then there is Americana. Not to be confused with Americano. That’s coffee. Made popular again in the UK by people like multi-instrumentalist, Seth Lakeman. Americana gives a nod to American ideals like community, democracy and white white teeth. At another open mic, I saw a gentleman howling and foot-stamping about the mountains. It was so expressive that it was hard to believe that the person was from somewhere like Patcham or maybe Worthing. Don’t get me wrong, the South Downs are good. They are good for dog walking, Easter egg rolling and gliding enthusiasts. They don’t really warrant foot-stamping or howling though. Having said that, W.R has also incorporated some of this style into their music. Brian spent some of his youth playing in the bars of New York and San Francisco and so experienced the complex Irish-American relationship that has existed for hundreds of years.
5) Get a good producer. Warsaw Radio are busy crafting some new songs with Maccabees producer Jag Jago. They are looking to release the new material next year when they are also planning an Irish, UK and Germany tour.
6) Get a good name. Their name comes from the story of the musicians who defiantly played on the radio stations throughout the 1939 siege of Warsaw. I guess what they are telling us then is that it will take more than Brexit to stop these guys from playing. Rightly so.