Flagstaff returns to the Fringe this year with a rusty, broken bottle blues feel that takes you down south and out west. The band adheres to their bluegrass roots whilst diversifying their setlist to provide a night of country-western, honky-tonk and southern boogie.
Flagstaff are worth a watch
Flagstaff wasted little time on introductions and jumped straight into a cover of Dylan’s You Ain’t Going Nowhere. Their liberal use of slide neck guitar, accordion and harmonica demonstrates clear influences from Neil Young, Jeff Healey and Ryan Adams. The evening was split into two distinctive halves, with the first driven by uptempo blues, the second characterised by softer acoustic numbers.
While the venue, Henry’s Cellar Bar, feels as American as they come, decorated with numerous state driver’s plates, bald-eagle memorabilia and of course the old stars ‘n’ stripes, it is cramped and lacks seating. On top of feeling like a sauna, viewing the band is made difficult thanks to a large pillar obstructing the stage. But it would be unfair to blame Flagstaff for the venue’s shortcomings.
If Flagstaff have a problem it would be their lack of consistent professionalism, the weak link in the act which slowed down their performance. The band took a fifteen-minute break between their faster and softer tracks as one does when switching the tempo, but invariably became patchier as the night grew on. This, however, was but a minor shortcoming of an otherwise pleasant experience. There is no doubt Flagstaff are worth a watch, though they were a little short on what they delivered.