"When The Crooked Fiddle Band took to the stage, it was as though someone had put 10,000 volts through the dance floor." : BEAT magazine.
Australian chainsaw-folk vigilantes The Crooked Fiddle Band deliver no-holds barred, high octane performances - turning dance floors into a post-apocalyptic frenzy.
They have toured to UK/Europe in 2010, 2011 and 2012, playing at Fusion (Germany), Urkult (Sweden), Telemarkfestivalen (Norway), Olympic Games Celebrations (UK) and Dranouter Festival (Denmark), TFF Rudolstadt and Ulmer Zelt (Germany) and venue shows across the UK.
In 2012 they launched their much anticipated first full-length album, "Overgrown Tales" - recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies, Gogol Bordello, Jonanna Newsom). In 2013, they returned to Albini's studios. New album due for international release in late-2013.
From intense cinematic soundscapes to medieval battle-like climaxes, this music will leave you gasping. Described by Brian Eno as "... completely surprising: the music is original and quixotic... I can't say I've ever heard anything else like it!”
"It is rare to hear genuinely original music these days, but when you listen to The Crooked Fiddle Band, your mouth will drop open. "
: Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
"The Crooked Fiddle Band are completely surprising: the music is original and quixotic, and yet has the strength of some deep and strong roots. I can't say I've ever heard anything else like it!"
: Brian Eno.
"This band really is a national treasure and testament to the infinite talent that keeps manifesting in our backyard... this group has reinvented folk music as it is known."
: Vanessa Lahey, australianstage.com.au
"Their live show crackles with an energy few other bands can match and their frantic brand of gypsy-instrumental music had the audience up and dancing immediately."
: Gareth Evans, Timber and Steel
"...I'm taken by how effortlessly it appears that they are masters and mistresses of the mood, playing with and for dancers as if we are flexible puppets - willing eager recipients of the ebbs and flow... They are so totally in charge of the audience in the most generous way..."
: Severin, Cuturazi.com
"So this is what Sepultura sound like in a parallel universe where they're a traveling gypsy band. It's the soundtrack to a hyperactive version of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Awesome!"
: Dom Alessio, Triple J
"Wild mash up of styles. Jess is giving the violin a solid workout. Which is a good thing. It deserves a flogging at times that bloody instrument. And a bouzouki in the line up! I'll be there at your next show if you shout the ouzo."
: Richard Kingsmill, Triple J Radio
"It's fantastic...Any band that digs Sepultura and Balkan gypsy bands is okay by me. It makes for some exciting listening."
: Zan Rowe, Triple J Radio
"When The Crooked Fiddle Band took to the stage, it was as though someone had put 10,000 volts through the dance floor. Fusing an array of folk and world styles and completely turning them on their head, this band certainly lived up to their crooked name. There was no restraining the four-piece; creating incredibly diverse, original and complex tunes with an energy and sound that could have rivaled groups ten times their size. The beautiful and well-crafted set was almost exclusively instrumental, and yet their story telling ability through their instruments created a vibrant, magical world that kept the audience enthralled from start to end."
: Kat Chish, BEAT magazine
Australian Festivals Highlights:
Peats Ridge Festival, NSW (2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13)
Apollo Bay Music Festival, VIC (2012)
Corinbank Festival, ACT (2008, 2009, 2012)
Adelaide Fringe Festival, Garden of Unearthly Delights (2012)
Spiegeltent, Victorian Arts Centre, VIC (2012)
Woodford Folk Festival, QLD (2010/11)
National Folk Festival, ACT (2008, 2011)
EUROPEAN FESTIVAL highlights :
2012 TOUR ---
Fusion (Germany) ,
Olympic Games Celebrations (UK)
Dranouter Festival (Denmark).
2011 TOUR ---
Ulmer Zelt, Germany (2011)
Rudolstadt, Germany (2011)
Arte Ganza, The Netherlands (2011)
Lichfield Festival (2011)
Jess Randall - Vocals, Violin, Nyckelharpa
Gordon Wallace - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, bouzouki
Joe Gould - Vocals, Drums
Mark Stevens - Double Bass, Appalachian dulcimer, Charango
"Moving Pieces of the Sea" (due for release 2013)
"Overgrown Tales" - CD and vinyl (2011)
"Rise" - EP (2008)
"The Crooked Fiddle Band" - EP (2006)
Live review : East Brunswick Club (MELB), Oct 2011
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"When The Crooked Fiddle Band took to the stage, it was as though someone had put 10,000 volts throu..."When The Crooked Fiddle Band took to the stage, it was as though someone had put 10,000 volts through the dance floor. Fusing an array of folk and world styles and completely turning them on their head, this band certainly lived up to their crooked name. There was no restraining the four-piece; creating incredibly diverse, original and complex tunes with an energy and sound that could have rivaled groups ten times their size. The beautiful and well-crafted set was almost exclusively instrumental, and yet their story telling ability through their instruments created a vibrant, magical world that kept the audience enthralled from start to end. "
Bruce Elder – Sydney Morning Herald
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“It is rare to hear genuinely original music these days, but when you listen to the Crooked Fiddle B...“It is rare to hear genuinely original music these days, but when you listen to the Crooked Fiddle Band, your mouth will drop open.”
Live Review : Peats Ridge Festival, 2012
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If there’s one band that has become synonymous with the Peats Ridge Festival it’s The Crooked Fiddle...If there’s one band that has become synonymous with the Peats Ridge Festival it’s The Crooked Fiddle Band. The Gypsy-infused Sydney foursome have been at almost all of the Peats Ridge Festivals over the years and always draw a massive crowd. The fact that they refer to the Peats Ridge stage as “home” shows just how comfortable they are at the festival.
When The Crooked Fiddle Band took to the stage at this years festival it was to a roar of a full Lyrebird tent and they did not disappoint. Their live show crackles with an energy few other bands can match and their frantic brand of gypsy-instrumental music had the audience up and dancing immediately.
Peppering their set with old favourites (like “The Rom Rebellion”) and tracks from their new album Overgrown Tales The Crooked Fiddle Band delivered an amazing show that was over far too soon (as is the trouble with stringent festival schedules). Somewhat surprisingly my favourite song from the set was not one of the danceable numbers but instead was The Hobbit inspired “Over Hill and Under Hill”, a rambling, medieval piece that really transports the listener into the narrative of the piece (no mean feat considering the track is an instrumental).
Jess Randall on fiddle continues to be an inspiration to musos everywhere – the mastery she has over her instrument is simply unparalleled both in the speed at which she can play and the huge array of sounds she can illicit from it. Mark Stevens on bass is a joy to watch and was perfectly mixed by the sound team at the Lyrebird. Gordon Wallace may be the only bouzouki-playing rock star in the country but that man just knows how to own the stage. And of course Joe Gould’s drums (and occasional vocals) brought everything together and filled the tent with that amazing energy that The Crooked Fiddle Band are known for.
Peats Ridge wouldn’t have been Peats Ridge without a show from The Crooked Fiddle Band and we’re so happy we managed to catch them. And with The Crooked Fiddle Band once again hosting their post festival party in January (more details to come) here’s hoping we get more of the same from these guys in 2012.
Review "Overgrown Tales" : 7 October, 2011
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Tom O'Donovan, thedwarf.com.au Like a soundtrack to a Clockwork Orange sequel that was never made, ...Tom O'Donovan, thedwarf.com.au
Like a soundtrack to a Clockwork Orange sequel that was never made, The Crooked Fiddle Band's debut disc 'Overgrown Tales' kicks off with 'Countess Bathory's Finishing School for Girls', a speedy cinematic offering highlighting the exceptional skills of violinist Jess Randall. The track titles are far from normal, but why would they be when the music ain't? It's quirkiness is entrancing and awesomely erratic.
Make no mistake about it: this is fiddle metal. Okay, so it's not the most talked about genre. Actually, is it even a genre? It's hard to pigeonhole The Crooked Fiddle Band into a particular musical landscape. Their macabre take on classical and gypsy music, frenetically fused with modern metal and punk rock percussive arrangements makes you listen with giddy intent and, at times, bemusement.
A bunch of insanely talented musicians, The Crooked Fiddle Band are going to go places. They wave a wonderfully weird musical wand. Just don't expect to hear them on commercial radio anytime soon!
Review "Overgrown Tales" : by God Is In The TV (UK)
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Owain Paciuszko, godisinthetvzine.co.uk Jess Randall’s screeching violin kicks offCountess Bathor...Owain Paciuszko, godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Jess Randall’s screeching violin kicks offCountess Bathory’s Finishing School For Girls before being accompanied by Joel Gould’s frantic drumming transforming the tune into a raucous, energetic klezmer-like tune with nods toFlight of the Bumblebee, it segues into a rather groovy folk swagger as Gordon Wallace’s guitar creeps out of the woodwork. It’s an assured, toe-tapping, head-nodding start to this record that instantly holds the attention.
The Ruination of Junkyard Joe continues along a similar bent, starting breezy and blustery before settling into jauniter furrows, Jess’ violin a fine, evocative centrepiece for the laidback rhythms to wrap themselves around. Joe delivers a croaky vocal over Mark Stevens’ ambling, carefree double bass before the track erupts into a frenetic and lively finale. Clockwork Bride is partially a variant on a traditional Romanian melody, though it begins with a strutting drum-line and moody guitars before Jess’ violin pierces the cool with its chattering, hyperactive buzz, a nifty counterpoint that coalesces through twitchy choruses before settling back into that snappy shuffle, the violin scratching at the edges eager to dive back in and it builds with edgy, abrasive energy. Coming to a clattering, peculiar and sinsister climax like Bernard Hermann conducting a barn dance, it’s a dizzying hybrid of skew-wiff body moving melodies and psychotic lunges.
The Crooked Fiddle Band are an Australian quartet whose imaginative and energetic music has brought them considerable attention, this record was engineered by Nirvana‘s Steve Albini.
All These Pitchforks Make Me Nervous is like a mosh-pit in a spook house, a jug band coming up on something terrifying, the playing rising with ever increasing tempo before sliding into woozy tumbles that retain some semblence of co-ordination, funky guitar licks sneaking out from behind the violin which sashays dangerously close to collapse. Meanwhile The Mountain Hag’s Advice begins like a folk apocalypse before keened, ominous vocals grumble over Gould’s mounting drums, Jess lending an operatic voice over sinister strings, sounding like siren song, it’s alluring yet feels like a warning. Sure enough her voice is soon replaced for panicked, agonised howls of terror and terrified, insistent instrumentation before Jess’ vocal returns beckoning the next foolish adventurer into her claws.
Fortunately along comes the mellower tones of Beneath Ash and Ocean a cautious yet optimistic track where everyone seems to take an audible breath, its dew-eyed and hopeful, like little cute fluffy animals peeking their heads out after a terrible storm, yet laced with a wry and cheeky note of the worst not being over yet. It’s followed by the more stately Over Hill and Under Hill which feels like the work of composer Mychael Danna with its elegant, folk leanings, it practically projects images of characters traverse beautiful moutainous landscapes. From the slow steady beginning the track rises with joyful spirit, strings and drums building towards something momentous, but with a wry smirk it suddenly cuts short and the tune changes, with Gould’s staccato drumming into something almost Math-Rock.
This debut LP closes with the epic 14 minute What The Thunder Said, starting meekly with a few plucked strings, quickly the violin is joined by guitar and charango, each playing around with a similar melody, the lines interweaving, intersecting and contrasting beautifully and rising with intensity as the track wears on. Once Gould’s drum joins the mix things become more pensive for a few beats before a jangling guitar line nudges things into more anarchic territory and eventually Jess’ violin begins wailing once more whilst the drums hammer insistently. Oddly, despite the large canvas on which to ebb and flow the track feels like it’s lacking something in comparison to the shorter songs on this album, given the room to breathe the changes in style feel more like a medley of ideas rather than one cohesive whole that consistently surprises, it even seems somewhat predictable at times. It draws to a sombre close with Jess’ vocal and the sound of snow shovelling.
Overall this is a brilliant, exhilirating and unique sounding record, it’s highly evocative and energising with ideas to spare. There are a few moments here and there where the band seem to be employing the same tricks over again and the finale, for all its grand potential, doesn’t play out quite how one would hope after the anticipation of the preceding seven tracks. Nonetheless, this is definitely one of the best records I’ve heard this year.
Rating: 4 STARS
Review "Overgrown Tales" : Celtic-Folk-Punk BLOG
The Crooked Fiddle Band. Folk rock? Gypsy punk? World music? All of them and more: great MUSIC.
Live review : Sydney Opera House
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The Studio, Sydney Opera House supporting Paprika Balkanicus Review by Vanessa Lahey. A nigh...The Studio, Sydney Opera House
supporting Paprika Balkanicus
Review by Vanessa Lahey.
A night to remember!
For the evening’s folkloric entertainment, the Sydney Opera House donned a very different guise in order to create a more traditional Eastern European vibe. The Studio was no longer the understated, sophisticated deco themed theatre with which I am accustomed, but a late night café/wine bar decked out with tables and chairs and dance floor a plenty for the anticipated frivolity.
Kicking off the festivity was Australia’s own Crooked Fiddle Band. This band really is a national treasure and testament to the infinite talent that keeps manifesting in our backyard. They describe their music as chainsaw-folk, mashed in with gypsy and swamp metal bluegrass – not in that order – and it is. If I may take a moment to unleash my own creative licence on that list, I would like to add that distant echoes of the Celts and sounds of a Gaelic kind could also be heard reverberating through the layers of sound.
The uniqueness of the Crooked Fiddle Band is what makes their music so alluring. Featuring the astonishingly talented Jess Randall (violin), Gordon Wallace (bouzouki, guitar, mandolin), Mark Stevens (double bass, charango) and Joe Gould (drum kit, junk, traditional percussion, vocals), this group have re-invented folk music as it is known. Playing to a majority who had no inclination of who this colonial gypsy band were, the Crooked Fiddle Band charmed the audience into submission. And speaking of audience members, what became apparent after my first impression awe had subsided, was the demographic of the audience.
EP review from download.com
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In their madcap pan-folk ditties, Sydney's Crooked Fiddle seem to channel every corner of the Earth ...In their madcap pan-folk ditties, Sydney's Crooked Fiddle seem to channel every corner of the Earth but their own. Eastern European arpeggios get played in Blue Ridge Mountain style and with Ireland's good cheer. How hard-rock drums get in the mix is anyone's guess--but what about them isn't?
Butcher of Bessarabia review
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“Wild mash up of styles. Jess is giving the violin a solid workout. Which is a good thing. It deserv...“Wild mash up of styles. Jess is giving the violin a solid workout. Which is a good thing. It deserves a flogging at times that bloody instrument. And a bouzouki in the line up! I'll be there at your next show if you shout the ouzo.”
Butcher of Bessarabia review
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See, anyone who can include "roots" AND "metal" in their genre... I'm intrigued. This is great gypsy...See, anyone who can include "roots" AND "metal" in their genre... I'm intrigued. This is great gypsy klezmer with a lot of energy and spice.
Butcher of Bessarabia review
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I'm diggin' this track! Blending metal and gypsy folkie stuff - just my style! I can imagine that se...I'm diggin' this track! Blending metal and gypsy folkie stuff - just my style! I can imagine that seeing these guys live would be a real treat!
EP review from Metal Reviews
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The Crooked Fiddle Band personally contacted Metal Reviews, requesting a review of their EP. They fe...The Crooked Fiddle Band personally contacted Metal Reviews, requesting a review of their EP. They felt their music contained elements that would appeal to most readers who visit our site. I visited their My Space page, listened to some samples of what they were all about and had them send me a copy of their six song EP.
So what's so "crooked" about The Crooked Fiddle Band anyway? Well, in my most humble opinion, I'd have to say it's the way in which they use their instruments. I'll get to this in a bit!
The Crooked Fiddle Band is a quartet from Sydney, Australia. The band consists of Jess Randall (violin, octave violin, vocals), Gordon Wallace (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Mark Stevens (double bass, charango) and Joe Gould (drum kit, junk and traditional percussion). Their songs include traces of Eastern European, Celtic and Middle Eastern music as well as modern metal, bluegrass and electronic influences.
With all that being said, one can probably conclude that if you go to a club and have people of different musical subgenres hanging out, such as swing cats, Romani gypsies, folk geeks, dirty punks and metalheads, there is a good chance that the one thing they might find they have in common is The Crooked Fiddle Band!
The "crooked" aspect of The Crooked Fiddle Band is that they cover so many different styles that it's hard to predict what to expect! The music is a mutt-mix almost everything and anything; from furious Romanian melodies and punked up Celtic passages to swampy bluegrass, enchanting gypsy airs and folkie Appalachian laments. The band has an excellent gift in being able to incorporate so many different styles and apply them successfully to their musical ways.
A track like Fire Swing is very hypnotic with the crackling fire sounds and seductive female vocals. The violin playing is nothing short of virtuoso and could give any speed metal guitar player a run for their money. The Butcher of Bessarabia is just plain mad! Out of all the songs on this EP, this one is the fastest and angriest. It has the intensity of most thrash metal songs yet doesn't need heavy, distorted electric guitars to get that point across. This track is sure to get people moshing in the pit! I'm not sure how anyone can even keep up! Flight From Damascus has a very gypsy feel to it with the enchanting percussion runs and Middle Eastern styled guitar playing. I can almost envision a slew of beautiful belly dancers right before my eyes or a snake charmer hypnotizing a deadly cobra with his instrument. Lost in Transcription has a Spanish feel to it with the acoustic guitar picking and gets punkier in tempo as the song goes on. The violins dictate the melody throughout the song. 44 Gallon Drum has a grooving, swing feel with some ear piercing violin playing at times. There is also a pretty cool bass line break that is very jazz like. The Drowned Sun is probably the slowest song. There is a certain melancholy and sadness to it. The violin melody on this track just might have you reaching for your tissues!
Considering that this is a four piece and the dominating and driving instruments are violins, The Crooked Fiddle Band have something to offer that is a bit off the beaten path and but can easily appeal to almost any listener with an objective ear! Don't let the word "fiddle" in the bands name make you assume anything otherwise as far as the type of music this band plays. It's the "crooked" part that will grab your attention more so than anything!
For more information on The Crooked Fiddle Band visit the band's home page at the link above or their My Space page at http://www.myspace.com/thecrookedfiddleband
Killing Songs : The Butcher of Bessarabia, Lost in Transcription, Flight From Damascus
1, 2 or 3 X 45 min sets
Original and trad material
PDF RiderTech Specs / Stage Plot for THE CROOKED FIDDLE BAND
There are no upcoming dates at this time.