Brilliant musicians, thrilling performers, free-thinking visionaries and all-round good chaps as well…small wonder Lau are regarded as the epicentre of the new folk boom. And they’ve got shelves groaning with awards, a forest’s worth of ecstatic reviews and breathless plaudits from excited audiences in various outposts of the world ringing in their ears to prove it…

Indeed, the republic of Lau-land has acquired almost empirical status as a journey which started with three blokes sitting down to play a few tunes on fiddle, guitar and squeeze-box at a kitchen table in Edinburgh one day in 2004. Lau quickly burst out of the undergrowth into groundbreaking terrain. Since then Lau has not merely become one of the great success stories of the last decade – and a barometer of the fast-changing and increasingly all-embracing face of British folk music – it is now a by-word for an exceptionally creative community, inspiring a boldly varied and richly colourful array of offshoot bands and projects wielding daring ideas with a myriad of musical styles and unlikely collaborators. Lau’s burgeoning CV now encompasses EPs with the exceptional singer songwriter Karine Polwart and electronica innovator Adem; concerts with everyone from Cream rock legend Jack Bruce to Northern Sinfonia; and an open-minded approach to recording that ranges from their own complex but eminently accessible tune-making to the startling re-working of Dear Prudence included on an all-star re-make of The Beatles’ classic White Album (and the De-Luxe edition of Arc Light).

“We’ve been proud of our music from day one,” say the band. “Before we started Lau the three of us were all busy doing other things and we said then that unless we could do something dynamic we’d keep it to ourselves. Now the gigs feel amazing. We’re on fire right now and we’re ready for the next level and putting on a show that’s spectacular and dynamic.”

Dynamic is certainly the word. From almost the first moment they ventured out into public (after a year solid rehearsing) audiences reacted joyously to their thrilling ensemble playing and the freshness of ideas and arrangements that constantly leap and dip in unexpected contours, with sharp mood swings and subtle nods to rock, jazz improvisation and other areas beyond the beyond. Debut album Lightweights and Gentlemen, released in 2007 – mixing original tunes with inspired arrangements of songs like the traditional Unquiet Grave and Ewan MacColl’s Freeborn Man -instantly rocketed them into the fore of the burgeoning new folk scene, triggering an onslaught of awards that includes an unprecedented three consecutive wins as Best Group at the BBC Folk Awards. Such was their reputation as a blistering stage act that they followed Lightweights and Gentlemen with the Lau Live album and then, in 2009, came the equally well-received Arc Light, with a grander setting that even produced a heavily played single, Winter Moon.

Cue more awards, triumphant tours, a proud catalogue of stomping headline festival appearances, splinter bands and a string of intriguing collaborations that we now find flavouring the new sound of Lau, as revealed on fourth album, Race The Loser. One of those collaborators, ambient electro pioneer Adem – who worked with Lau on the Ghosts EP with its themes of social migration and refugees – has certainly encouraged them to explore the potential of technology, resulting in Martin Green now juggling his accordion wizardry with an element of knob-twiddling.

“We’ve never wanted to repeat ourselves,” says band member Aidan O’Rourke. “We’re folk musicians but firstly we’re musicians with a love of different styles and we don’t think we’re cheating on anybody by drawing on that. We all love and play a wide range of music but what we have in common is a deep love of hardcore traditional music.”



General Admission; very limited seating || Tickets do not guarantee seats ||*Please note, there is a one drink minimum for this show*

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Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2