You know how sometimes you go to a show and you can just feel that this is somehow a tipping point for the performers? Well, there was a definite air of “event” about Kan’s triumphant show at Band On The Wall, and not just because the likes of Becky Unthank and Mike Harding were in the audience.

It’s no surprise that the four-man band – Aidan O’Rourke on fiddles, Brian Finnegan on flutes and whistlesIan Stephenson on guitars (and hair…), and James Goodwin on drums  – are superlative musicians who, after years working with the likes of Lau and Flook, are supremely comfortable on stage. But they have gelled into a ferociously formidable unit, with their vision of “a homogeneous quartet of lead instruments, where the drums are as important to the melodic content as the fiddle” beginning to really bear fruit.

Their debut album Sleeper was well represented and clearly stands as an impressive calling card, but there’s a powerful sense that it’s the tip of an iceberg, that this band could go almost anywhere that took their fancy. As they blithely wander through not only Irish and Scottish traditional music but also Breton dance, Asturian jigs, avant-garde funk and heaven only knows what else, the origin of a particular piece becomes almost irrelevant (although some of the hilarious ‘explanatory’ intros were worth recording in their own right). Kan are a band who are already achieving great things but have the potential to hit even greater heights. It may prove to be a long, even a strange, trip but it should be one hell of a ride.

Review by Kevin Bourke


What: Kan at Band On The Wall, Manchester

When: May 16, 2013 and touring

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