Stepping into Saint Luke’s, the walls of the former church vibrated with an infectious energy.
Julie Alapnes and her band were already in their element, the petite fiddler, all the way from Norway, gracefully dancing across the stage, while weaving enchanting melodies on her instrument. The strong, rhythmic pulse of the drums in one of the songs, almost like a marching rhythm, reminded of the icemen song ‘Frozen Heart’ from Disney’s Frozen.
Unfortunately, the band mentioned no song titles, although, since they are in Norwegian it probably would not have helped much anyway. Even before finding out the band was from Norway, their ethereal sound instantly reminded of the Nordic countries, as if the music was painting a picture of the vast landscapes.
The buzz in the air was palpable, fuelled by anticipation for Dallahan’s 10th-anniversary gig. The fully packed venue spoke volumes about their enduring success. Led by frontman Jack Badcock (vocals/guitar), the four-piece line-up seamlessly blended Irish and Scottish folk music with captivating twists, American folk influences woven in by Ciarán Ryan’s banjo. Their second song, ‘Marina’ from their latest album ‘Devil In Disguise’, held a darker, almost fantastical aura, reminiscent of a bardic tale straight out of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ (apologies for yet another cinematic comparison).
Welcomed on stage by a thrilled crowd, special guest Jani Lang, original fiddle player and founding member, joined Dallahan a few songs in. His Hungarian heritage ignited the music, lacing it with vibrant Eastern European influences.
For the final part of the set, Mànran drummer Mark Scobbie joined, giving that extra kick of electrifying energy that I hadn’t realised was missing until he started playing. ‘Dilmano’ showcased Dallahan’s Balkan influences more clearly, featuring, I believe, Hungarian lyrics delivered by Lang. The closing song ‘Beaton’s’, was a fast-paced showcase of the raw talent of all members, Benedict Morris and Andrew Waite‘s fingers seemingly engaged in a battle, racing over fiddle strings and accordion keys.
In true Glaswegian style the iconic chant of “one more tune!” echoed through the room. The band, fuelled by the crowd, happily obliged, returning for a final encore. As the last notes faded, the feeling of a true trad high lingered, a testament to the power of music and community this genre-defying band has been nurturing for over a decade.