A new band of acoustic heavies has come together. The Porbeagles are full on, high octane and 100% proof. Their music has grown out of the very roots and bones of Cornwall but they are all veterans of international touring. The instruments may fool you into thinking they are a quaint folk ensemble but if that’s your taste then you had best avoid this outﬁt. Rather, imagine a hard rock band whose lead guitarist instead plays the violin and Celtic harp! A driving rhythm section underpins intricate melodies and incisive lyrics, delivered in a truly original style. The songs are full of biting social commentary, wit and wisdom.
The Porbeagles may have just been formed but their members all have some history. Frontman, Davey Dodds, is a songwriter of some renown. His classic, ‘The Magpie’ was recently covered by The Unthanks on their award winning album, Mount the Air and used to great effect in the BBC2 series, ‘The Detectorists’. Davey once strutted his stuff with the quintessentially English prog-rock band, Red Jasper. His vocal style is often compared to Fish but he points out – with full justiﬁcation – that he was doing it ﬁrst! He plays a hugely resonant, octave mandolin, sparkles on a normal mandolin and creates ethereal soundscapes with ﬂutey things.
The Porbeagles also play Celtic inspired dance music that will put blisters on your feet! Martin Solomon, a true virtuoso who has travelled the world studying musical theory and techniques, weaves magic with his violin and Celtic harp taking both instruments far beyond the staid boundaries of conventional folk styles.
Cliff Eastabrook, once of The Morrigan and Pressgang, pushes bass playing way past the conﬁnes of straight, solid rock. He is inventive and melodic and is happy to force Martin to scary heights! Davey is equally happy to stand at the side of the stage and let them ﬁre ideas off one-another!
Three such individual, dominant forces need someone special to glue them together. David Clifford once played drums alongside Davey in Red Jasper. He is a consummate musician who copes masterfully with everything the other guys throw at him!
An interesting name for an interesting band – it’s hard to pigeonhole the Porbeagles. If someone was turning the thumbscrews and demanding that I describe their music, I might say ‘Contemporary, Celtic rock’n’reel’ – but that wouldn’t say it all. They will get your toes tapping and your feet stomping but they will also conjure atmospheric ethereal delights.
The band’s name is interesting. Porbeagles are large sharks, related to great whites, which live off the coast of North Cornwall. Davey recons it’s the only Cornish word that has made it into the English language – it translates as ‘harbour shepherd’. Davey is renowned, in another life, for having caught such beasties with a ﬂy rod (albeit a special ﬂy rod!).
You can see The Porbeagles in action in these two videos:
Rocky road to Bodmin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T5wKUsAWaQ
Three Lines and a Whip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahIg-OUm3IU