We don’t usually play folk music here at Riga.
Despite our resident DJ’s impassioned (and often drunken) arguments in favour for Simon and Garfunkel’s early folk recordings, for a long time it has remained a genre that has been untouched at the Riga Music Bar.
Whenever I think of folk music, my mind drifts to dismal country fairs, Joni Mitchell wannabes at open mic nights and God-awful-buskers in quaint historical cities like York and Winchester. So, with that being said, you might be surprised to hear that I found Folky Terry and The Strawberry Crunch Bunch to be one of the most entertaining and energising live acts to have graced our stage here at the Riga Music bar.
A good-sized crowd turned up for the support act on a Tuesday night, either an indicator that the students were back and really didn’t want to get on with their revision or that up and coming local act Good-Time Jarv was already building up a considerable local following.
With a mop of bleach blonde hair and a battered acoustic guitar, Good-Time Jarv more than resembles a certain deceased Grunge icon however the pure tone that he sings with and the delicacy of his guitar puts him in closer reach to a singer like Norah Jones than any of Cobain’s acoustic work. As is expected from a large crowd, Jarv initially struggles to be heard over the din, however after drawing the mob’s attention with a blinding rendition of Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World (surely a nod to his bleach blonde 90s hero) he soon settles into a groove that has the audience lapping up his softly crooned vocals.
By the end of Good-Time Jarv’s set the Bar is reaching max capacity and there’s some real anticipation building in the room. The stage is cleared and brightly coloured instruments of all shapes and sizes are brought on stage. There’s a tuba, a double bass and even a Korg synthesizer: hardly the kind of instruments that you’d associate with a usual folk band but, then again, Folky Terry and The Strawberry Crunch Bunch aren’t your usual folk band.
The 7-piece band are given a rapturous welcome as they take their positions on stage. Dressed in black, they’d look a little ominous if it weren’t for their technicolor instruments. The band begin a thrumming intro based on Sunflower River Blues, a folk standard that is clearly familiar to the crowd. As this opener reaches a crescendo, the man himself bounds on stage. Folky Terry has always been known for his outlandish getup, yet it seems like he’s really pushed the boat out for this show.
Thick dreadlocks wheel through the air as the front man grabs his uke and begins to strum madly; this kind of devil may care performance is normally associated with hardcore punk acts rather than folk performers and it’s clear that his energy is infectious.
Within a matter of minutes the crows is a sweaty mass of smiling faces and it’s clear that Folky Terry has won over a new slew of fans.
Folky Terry and The Strawberry Crunch Bunch played the Riga Music Bar on the 9th January 2018 and were reviewed by Part-Time Bar Staff member, Jolene Fitzstewart.