They say all good things come to those who wait and that the best things are worth waiting for. With four in demand musicians who rarely get the chance to come together due to the likes of, for example, fiddler Aidan O’Rourke’s heavy involvement with award winning trio Lau, fans of KAN need to exercise a little patience. With Lau just reaching the end of another round of tour dates, it gave Kan a chance to come together, rack up a few road miles and put on a gig at the historic Band On The Wall, Manchester.In KAN, O’Rourke was joined by drummer Jim Goodwin from ‘just up the road’ and Yorkshire import Ian Stephenson on guitar along with fellow Celt Brian Finnegan, a virtusoso flutist and whistle player who performed in Flook, a band sorely missed.
As well as drawing influences from these shores their traditional Celtic sound is also inspired and influenced by Mayan culture as well personal experiences such as Aidan becoming stranded on New Zealand’s Ninety Mile Beach which gave the motivation to write one of the more calming and atmospheric tunes of the set.
All four contribute towards the compositions which are gathered into sets – Mangatakk being a prime example; starting off as a take on Israeli jazz bassist Avishai Cohen’s Emotional Storm and ending with a traditional Breton tune from Jim Goodwin (sometimes misheard incorrectly and quite amusingly as ‘Manc Attack’ as he informed us).In the final set before the interval, it was Marcos which really took off with Finnegan’s Hayden’s Rock – heralded by Ian Stephenson’s ringing guitar rhythm which is usually the sign that something spectacular is about to ensue before Goodwin’s subtle groove kicked in for the deft whistle and fiddle to do their stuff. It was really a moment in which the band showed themselves living up to their claim of being “a quartet of lead instruments”. With Aidan O’Rourke freed from the stool he occupies with Lau, he jerked his way through the performance, a compulsive watch – almost like viewing a time lapse film or strobe lit routine.
After the interval several collections of reels kept the momentum up, particularly their Night Ride set which has earned quite a few hits on YouTube including the immortal comment “Go baldies!” being borne rather proudly as a badge of honour as opposed to taking offence.
KAN are a vastly underrated quartet and they deserve the recognition of a much wider audience rather than being like a well kept secret who sneak out of the bag every now and then. Perhaps the time will come when what seems like a little side project becomes as popular as the day jobs and we get a chance for some more prolonged live work and a follow up to the Sleeper album.
Live Review by: Micahel Ainscoe
Photo’s by Michael Ainscoe (Copyright 2013)