Patch & The Giant at River Mills Ballroom

On Sunday, London’s Patch & The Giant closed Selby Arts Festival in style at River Mills Ballroom. The newly-refurbished venue in the heart of Selby proved to be the perfect venue for the festival’s closing party, and the night featured a slew of talented artists, including Fiona Lee and a solo set from Nick Edward Harris.

By Graeme Smith

Photos by Andy Argyle

Starting the night was local singer-songwriter Fiona Lee. A student at Selby College, a partner of Selby Arts Festival, she was spotted by festival organiser David Edmunds while performing a recital there.

Fiona played a short set of all original material, including tracks from her recently recorded eponymous EP. With a rich, soulful voice reminiscent of Tracey Chapman, she breezed through a rock-acoustic set, closing strongly with lively track Loving At Best. With such talent and confidence already in her performance, Fiona is certainly one to watch.

Up next was one-sixth of Patch & The Giant, Nick Edward Harris, who performed a set of upbeat everyday folk. Nick’s intricate finger-work on the guitar was truly stunning. Add to that his ability to back himself with percussion, and throw in some harmonica for good measure, Nick set himself up as a one-man band. The result was a toe-tap-inducing, performance.

The highlight was the raucous Trap Door and he closed ambitiously with a new song Smug, which his humbly introduced as “middle-class self-harm”, referring to the daunting task of playing something new in front of a room of strangers. If it was painful for him, it was worth it for the audience, who clapped him off with aplomb

Nick returned to stage with his bandmates, together known as Patch & The Giant. The London-based alt-folk six-piece are probably most accurately compared to Mumford & Sons in terms of their sound, yet their array of instruments and complexity of their performance sets them apart. As well as instrument swapping (“we like to get the faffing out the way in the first two songs,” noted singer Luke Owens), there was an impressive amount of multi-tasking going on. At several points, band member Angie Racie played accordion with one hand and trumpet with the other, a feat not to be under-estimated.

Their set started lively, then grew more downbeat. Owen described song Love And War as the set’s “bottom of the valley of depression” but it played well in the intimate venue, drawing the audience in and proving to be a highlight with mournful guitar and cello.

Patch & The Giant closed bombastically and, urged to keep going by the dancing audience, returned for an instrumental encore. Not finished there, they ended the evening with a refreshing version of House Of The Rising Sun which breathed new life into the oft-covered classic.

Kudos to the performers, Selby Arts Festival and River Mills Ballroom for creating an unforgettable night!

Fiona Lee, Nick Edward Harris and Patch & The Giant played at River Mills Ballroom on Sunday 30 July 2017.