In what seems like a lifetime ago in the year 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, the SNP first surged to power in the Scottish election, and global banking institutions were beginning to bottom out spectacularly. The year also marked the beginnings of experimental folk group called Lau, comprised of Orcadian singer and guitarist Kris Drever, Highland fiddle player Aidan O’Rourke and English accordion player Martin Green.
After ten glorious years, which has included winning Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards four times, the band are currently touring their anniversary Decade LP. Banchory’s revered venue The Barn is host this evening to a rightly-so sold out house.
In the first half of the set, the band pay homage to their acoustic leanings, best heard in The Burrian, an ode of sorts to an Orcadian castle with a sinister story. The trio gather seated around a single microphone on stage, producing a remarkable and rich acoustic sound that shifts from slow ballads to folk tunes. It’s the kind of sound that only emanates from musicians of the highest degree after ten years spent in each others company.
After half time the stage curtains are drawn back to reveal a huge homemade “We love the NHS” sign. The group begin with a re-hashed version of Freeborn Man, before launching into electrified versions of Tiger Hill and Hinba, complete with an almost techno remix courtesy of Martin Green. This part of the set shows why the group are so acclaimed, with all three musicians branching off into an electrified versions of their hits, complete with samples, loops and synthesisers.
Towards the end of the set the group bring the set back down to earth in Ghosts, sung majestically by Drever. O’Rourke introduces the beautiful Torsa, set on a lonely Scottish island with a population of zero. The group have found their way back to the single microphone on stage to end with Far From Portland. Respectfully they say they’d rather not waste our time with an encore farce, and invite the crowd to end with them with a singalong version of Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come A’ Ye.