“We’re going to play you a song off the new record now,” Angie announces. “Actually, they’re all off the new record but it sounds cool to say that.” Those of us crammed into the Basement on the banks of the River Ouse in York are being treated to something triumphant. Patch & The Giant are less than a week removed from releasing their debut album, and they are here to celebrate.
The audiences are steadily growing but those who have been listening to these songs for years now as part of Patch’s intense gigging will detect an extra assuredness to their sound. They proudly make their way through a setlist hastily scribbled on Luke’s wrist, rousing a crowd made up of long-time followers and curious newbies. Forget the label of folk – this is music that will fill the soul. Their ability to make everything from a soaring sing-a-long to the softest harmony sound anthemic separates them from the crowd.
They do this through a combination of Luke’s rich vocals and the lush instrumentation we’ve come to love. While Gabriel and Derek work the strings at the back of the stage, Nick serves as a one-man rhythm section in the corner and Angie juggles her accordion, harmonica and trumpet. As Luke swaps his guitar for a mandolin midway through the show, he says: “I get jealous of Angie playing all these different instruments so I’ve got myself different versions of the same instrument.” The point is, if you’re a member of this band and you’re not playing more than one instrument – ideally at the same time – you’re just not trying.
Thinking back, it seems every time I’ve ever seen Patch play live, it’s been a different incarnation. The line-up has changed over the years, as has the number of members who might be performing on any given night. And that is why, though the release of the album has given these songs a new authority, as live performances they remain organic beings – songs that change and grow every time they are performed. On the new record, you can pick up on the subtle beauty of the tunes. On stage, you cannot help but feel their power.
After All That We Had, We Stole has been fully plundered the band return to the stage to lead the crowd in a rendition of ‘House of the Rising Sun’. As the final note fades away, Gabriel raises a fist to the air. This should be the first of many victory laps for Patch & The Giant.