Smoke Fairies


A healthy crowd welcomes the return to Manchester of the Smoke Fairies here in part to promote their new album, which is their third and is eponymous with its title Smoke Fairies. It is a tour that they nearly did not make as documented in recent press articles, which have focused on the duo nearly splitting with one-half of the group Jessica Davies suggesting to her musical partner Katherine Blamire that she was no longer sure whether Smoke Fairies should continue.

Following the gentle sounds of support act The Lake Poets with some fine pedal steel guitar playing contributing to a very pleasant start. The welcoming atmosphere of the Band on the Wall helps greet the band as the Smoke Fairies stride confidently on stage and soon hit their mark with a well-judged mix of new album tracks and old favourites.

Early new song ‘Eclipse Them All’ is a prime example of how they have fused their melancholic blues folk sound with subtle adornments of keys. These feature more strongly on their new album and in particular adds a layer of subtle beauty to the new album tracks ‘Waiting for Something To Begin’ and ‘Version Of The Future’.

Older songs soon feature Strange Moon Rising with Blamire’s almost primordial blues guitar wrestled coolly and injecting distorted riffs to build the songs atmosphere, accompanied by the duos otherworldly offset vocals. From first record Through Low Light and Trees, ‘Summer Fades highlights further their vocal strength with the melancholic refrain, ‘Can you love me like you loved someone you loved so long ago?’, and their melting harmonies adding a haunting and almost timeless quality, which no doubt explains Jack White’s fondest for the group.

Much kudos should be given to the backing band that provide an exemplary support with the young Peter Green lookalike hopping from instrument to instrument and providing fine violin adornments to ‘Hope is Religion’. The band then demonstrate their lighter musical side with the almost jaunty ‘We’ve Seen Birds’ touching upon their recent self-doubts with the line, ‘I’d be lost without you by my side’.

As the concert progresses, the band relax and join in with a bit of banter with one of their regular fans with a tongue in cheek reference on final song ‘Are You Crazy’ and Blamire admonishes herself for having a ‘face problem’ as she is having a great time even if ‘her face’ may not outwardly show it. They return for the encore with ‘Blood Speaks’ the title track from their previous album. It is a strong finish to complete the show, which the audience appreciate, and the band themselves clearly enjoy as such one hopes this will further banish any thoughts of splitting for a good while.

Smoke Fairies  Official | Facebook | Twitter Youtube

Jonathan Roby

Overgrown indie kid with a penchant for americana, psych and weird folk.