Review from Spark Sunderland
“…then it was time for the big guns to be let loose on the folk-fanatic music fans (or Little Monsters, as the Ceilidh Band call them). Having reviewed these guys before I knew what I was letting myself in for. They were the same if not better than before as they fuse every form of music that is known to man and somehow make it work. It was first class, good old folk music. It was such a good night that now as I write this I can still hear the music ringing in my ears!”
Gemma Hirst, Sunderland Spark
Folkwords.com review of Charge by Tim Carroll
‘Charge!’ definitely does not fit into the standard ‘cup of folk tea’ bracket, indeed many folkies, trad
or otherwise, will find this album about as endearing as a cup of hemlock … but that’s their problem. The Monster Celidh Band bring yet another fusion to folk with electronic effects and drum ‘n’ bass power grafted onto traditional accordion and fiddle-led dance tunes. The energy is persistent, the performance uncompromising, the meld inimitable and if your feet remain still then someone has nailed your shoes to the floor.
I first encountered their genre-busting, tradition-frightening brand of folk with their first studio album ‘Mechanical Monster’. Now with a string of festival standing-ovations and legions of wiped-out, exhausted audiences to their credit they release their second studio album ‘Charge!’ From the surge of opening energies with ‘Vralkada’ and the superbly titled ‘80’s Ferret’ through the slightly less frenetic ‘Anti-Gravity’ and ‘Mr.G’ to the multi-layered live version of ‘Gyto’and ‘Alien Forces’ this leads folk in unfamiliar, bizarre and intriguing directions.
As stated earlier, ‘Charge!’ is not for everyone, but for me it’s yet another injection of excitement for folk music. That doesn’t mean chucking out the baby with the bathwater and neither is it tearing down tradition with some permanently pissed-off wave of post-punk angst. No, this is yet one more vibrant bud emerging from one of the folk tree’s many and eclectic branches. It means ‘go with the flow’.
Monster Ceilidh Band were stunning; a brilliant main stage set which managed to get the hot, tanned, but always well oiled, crowd finally on their feet for a brilliant performance. This band play Folk Drum & Bass (yes that’s right) and were in excellent form, all the more remarkable given that their regular accordionist, the talented Amy Thatcher, was indisposed and her stand-in replacement did a sterling job! They also provided probably the best slap bass playing of the weekend. Marvellous stuff.
“However the unexpected Friday showdown is found in frantic folk outfit MONSTER CEILIDH BAND. With an eclectic assortment of fiddle, accordion, mandocello, dub bass and drums, the jet-propelled jigs and reels transform the Chai Wallah tent from a contemplative space to a Rainbow Rhythms style hoedown(Peep Show, remember?). The intriguing folk-drum and bass fusion goes down a storm with the crowd, and ends the night with a well-orchestrated bang.” RockFM
“A thousand people jigging to ceilidh electronica! Monstrously awesome
- a festival highlight.”
Paul Burke, Purbeck Folk Festival director
It’s alive! A Frankensteinian assemblage of two halves ****
With lots of funk and zing to move all butts to the floor, the Monster Ceilidh Band remind us that while the word that means dance is internationalised, it still predominantly conjures up Scotland, Ireland and Celtic countries. So it’s a pleasant surprise that they hail from Newcastle, as their brand of music, which induces the skipping, jumping and dancing that has kept thousands warm throughout winter over the centuries, is a real tonic for innovative energy.
The musical references of the acoustic-based disc one trace intense developments in traditional music close to home, a la Kathryn Tickell, and most closely approach the beautifully wiry melodic sound of Finnish radicals Maria Kalaniemi, JPP and other Sibelius academy alumni whose 90s re-thinking and sound has touched the European world music scene over the last 20 years.
The musicianship and arrangements of this gender-balanced foursome is simply stunning, with oodles of contemporary classical and jazz sensibility adding terrific bite to everything they touch: there’s a wonderful atmospheric nuance notable in pieces like ‘Gastown’ and the Kalaniemi-influenced ‘Vralkada’. The highly energised second CD here, ‘Monsters vs The Touch’, has drum ‘n’ bass producer Joseph underpinning pieces with dynamic, quirky edges. Potentially a success of monstrous proportions then.
Bearded Theory 2012
“In 5 years of putting this dance tent on, I have NEVER had a Sunday afternoon like the Monsters brought!!! The place was jumping!!!PHIL MELLERSH – Festival Organiser
Bournemouth Folk Festival
The biggest crowd pleaser of the event however, was without a doubt the Monster Ceilidh Band and the explosion of energy that came with them. With their Ceilidh jigs and stage presence they transformed the audience into dancers, as energetic and excited as a bunch of 5 year olds who have just been told their moving to Disneyland. It was one of the most beautifully orchestrated shambles I have ever seen. It was almost too easy to become distracted from the music by the near anarchic dancing of the folk loving horde. Memorising the back and fourths, crossovers and turns that were being instructed from the stage was a visibly difficult assignment for those who’d had more than a few pints of ale. But the band kept the dance under control and played with such technical flair that it was impossible not to enjoy the talented foursome’s compositions. They displayed all the finest attributes of folk and jig music during the great dance workshop and after, moved onto their electronic set. The set began with an industrial buzz that filled the room and when the music kicked in, it became a rowdy and modern adaptation of their ceilidh play list. The broad compilation of musical genres that featured throughout the set even stepped into the realms of drum & bass for what the band believe to be the world’s first cross over ceilidh track.
Malaysia’s leading men’s mag chooses the Monsters as Editor’s Pick
‘New Man’, Malaysia’s answer to ‘Esquire’, reviewed the Monster Ceilidh Band after their storming show at the Rainforest World Music Festival earlier this year. You can read the article HERE
US Magazine ‘Driftwood’ reviews our album alongside Ry Cooder and The Chieftains!
Read the review HERE