Review The Young’Uns Downend Folk Club Support from Roaring Trowmen

December 03 2015

What’s so special about three chaps from the North East standing on a little village hall stage singing folk songs and shanties?


What’s so special about three chaps from the North East standing on a little village hall stage singing folk songs and shanties?
It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what it is that sets The Young’uns apart from the rest… but one thing’s for certain, every single member of the sell-out audience at Downend Folk Club could see for themselves just why the trio scooped the award for Best Group at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; this was a truly magical evening.
Starting the evening off in barnstorming fashion were Bristol-based quartet The Roaring Trowmen. Their half-hour set, delivered without any amplification, filled the little hall in Frenchay with the sea-shanties and rowdy humour that have made them favourites on the folk festival scene, and set the scene perfectly. The audience even quickly forgave the odd naughty word in their final number… after all, the locally-brewed Great Western Brewing Co. beer was flowing freely in the bar, so we could all relate to Trowmen’s disgust at the subject of their song ‘The Man Who Didn’t Like Beer’! A truly entertaining group… they gig regularly around Bristol, so do go and catch them if you can.
So the scene was set for Michael Hughes, Sean Cooney and David Eagle… there was a definite and tangible tingle of excitement in the air as the audience waited patiently for club chairman Ant Miles to wade through the monthly notices… and, finally, it was time.
The Young’uns started in the style that has made them so popular, with a three-part harmony song, ‘Between The Wars’ that showed off their vocal talents to the full.
Of course, with The Young’uns, you know you’re in for a great night of music, but their stage presence is unbelievable. In David Eagle they have a comic genius; excellent quips and jokes delivered with absolutely perfect timing. The audience were, at times, almost literally rolling in the aisles as David reeled of a series of his now-famous one-liners.
And the chemistry between the trio is tangible too. They’ve known each other for a very long time, and it shows… the gentle (and at times not-so-gentle!) mickey-taking is part of what makes them one of the most entertaining groups around at the moment.
Behind the band on stage stood a piano, a couple of guitars and an accordion, but it was well into the first-half before they picked them up… The Young’uns are all about the singing! But they can play, too, and the guitar and accordion really added weight to their song ‘The Streets Of Lahore’, a song about the honour-killing of Farzana Parveen, as The Young’uns showed that as well as funny, they are also capable of writing and delivering a song which packs a gravitas-filled punch.
A rousing finale almost lifted the roof off Frenchay Village Hall as The Young’uns invited The Roaring Trowmen back up to the stage to join them for a final sea-shanty… you couldn’t hear yourself think, but if you could have, you’d have heard yourself thinking “This is a bit special”.
But the audience had enough, and demanded more. The evening’s raffle was in aid of the RNLI, so The Young’uns brought local representative Brian Kennedy up on stage for an encore about… well… farmyard animals, which required the esteemed Mr Kennedy to make a series of animal noises (his Guinea pig was particularly impressive!), as David reeled-off a series of groan-inducing animal puns as the song progressed.
Despite the late hour, the full-house still wanted more as Downend Folk Club experienced it’s first ever double-encore, and it was a perfect way to end the evening… Michael, Sean and David delivering ‘John Ball’, away from the mics in the middle of the room. And then, that really was it.
So what’s so special about these three chaps from the North East? Well, for my money… pretty much everything. They really are something very special.

Ant Miles, Chairman
Downend Folk Club


Next at Downend Folk Club


Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker

(support from
Emi McDade)

Christ Church Downend, Friday December 18
Doors open 7.30pm

Downend Folk Club are delighted to announce the appearance of Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker for a very special Christmas show, at Christ Church Downend, on Friday December 18.
The intimate confines of the church will be perfect for what promises to be a very special show from the multi-award winning duo. Wrap up warm, bring the family along, and prepare for a wonderful evening in the company of Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker.
Seamlessly blending traditional songs with their own self-written work, singer Josienne and guitarist Ben’s rise to fame has been as quick as it has been deserved. Off the back of four albums and multiple other releases, the duo are capping off a great year with a short seasonal tour.
If you’re not sure, maybe the fact that they won the Best Duo category at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards will convince you. We can’t wait to see them at Downend, where they’ll bring their warmth, vitality and amazing musicianship to another crowd of dedicated music lovers.
“a truly polished and elegant album ensuring that a hush falls over an attentive and absorbed audience... A triumph of an album”
Bright Young Folk
Blending “classically instilled traditional songs with self-penned lovelorn ballads”, Josienne and Ben’s sound is as diverse as their influences, which range from Sandy Denny and June Tabor to Nic Jones and Pierre Bensusan. Their recordings are often set to string-filled, orchestral backdrops, but what’ll catch the ear is Josienne’s emotional vocals and Ben’s amazingly expressive guitar. Mix this with their wickedly self-deprecating humour, needed to counterbalance the sad and poetic lyrics as well as the death and despair of their traditional repertoire, and you’re in for quite a night.
Their career has grown from Josienne’s solo roots, through their first two albums One Light Is Gone and The Seas Are Deep. Their profile was raised through much hard work, resulting in the critically acclaimed Fire & Fortune of 2013. This year’s Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour looks set to catapult them further into the musical stratosphere.
“the green shoots growing from the very top of the English folk family tree”
They’ll be supported by Gloucestershire Solo Artist of the Year 2014, folk-pop singer-songwriter Emi McDade. Having performed on stages such as BBC Introducing, Guildhall, The Bedford, Emi’s single ‘Faith’, has been warmly received throughout the UK, Australia and America.
The event will be held at Christ Church Downend on Friday December 18. Doors open at 7.30pm and there will be a full bar serving GWB real ale, cider, wine and a range of soft drinks, for which we encourage you to bring your own glass.
Tickets £10 advance, £12 on the door.
For further information, please contact Ant Miles on 0783 7881941 or email