Review | Future Folk with Amy Goddard and Vicar's Crackpipe at The Square Kitchen, Portsmouth: 'A pair of intimate and very different performances'

I’ll confess, I’ve never been hugely fussed about football.

The England women’s team is obviously having an incredible run at Euro 2022, and on the night of the semi-final it would appear I was in the minority in preferring to take in a gig.

As a result there were barely enough in the audience at the latest Future Folk night to scrape together a full footie team.

But the two acts gamely played on, and for those of us who were there, we were treated to a pair of intimate and very different performances.

Vicar's Crackpipe were at Future Folk at Portsmouth Guildhall on July 26, 2022

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    First up was Portsmouth’s Amy Goddard – a solo singer-songwriter, visual artist, music teacher and also a luthier – she made the guitar she plays.

    Her songs draw you in, there are hints of Joni Mitchell in her delivery, often inviting quiet contemplation – like Cornish Mist, inspired by a camping trip to Tintagel and about visiting a favourite place with someone you love as you grow older together.

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    The more up-tempo Make Your Mark, about what drives prisoners of conscience is a high point.

    There’s also a spirited cover of American singer-songwriter John Stewart’s Hunters of The Sun.

    She finishes with a ‘silly song’, The Hedgehog Song, about a pet with an – ahem – spiky demeanour, which her husband says is like her. The song morphs into Buddy Hollie’s Peggy Sue, renamed Heggy Sue – which is of course the pet’s name.

    Check out her new album Rise.

    Up next are the magnificently named trio Vicar’s Crackpipe. While there is neither a cassock nor drug paraphernalia in sight, with guitar, fiddle and accordion they do have a fine line in foot-stomping songs and tunes in the English and celtic folk traditions.

    They also have a penchant for the darker side of English folk – nicely demonstrated in their versions of Golden Vanity and Gallows Pole.

    There’s even a cover of the blues standard Hi-Heel Sneakers.

    So, very much a game of two halves, with both teams on form.

    To continue the terrible football metaphors, let’s call this a score-draw, but both acts deserve a bigger audience.

    I am told the acts at Future Folk are routinely of this high calibre, and at only £3 entry, certainly worth a punt. The next one is on August 23.