There is an air of calm in The Tin Angel ahead of the arrival of a true pioneer of the folk genre, as if every member of the audience is somehow held in a state of suspended animation, waiting for a wake up call with purpose. Tonight, Diane Cluck is in town, and along with her support Wig Smith, they carry such potential that their musical kick-start is all it takes to get this mishmash of folk music enthusiasts to feel.
Wig Smith played effortlessly beautiful compositions that acted as a catalyst for reflective thought. He played a kora for most of his 50-minute set, creating his own particular brand of folk that was contemporary and accessible, despite the ethnic history ever-present with the instrument. The audience was caught in rapture and a sense of belonging traveled in waves to the back of the room. No sooner had Smith completed his set when the main attraction appeared.
Diane Cluck milled through the audience to the stage, her slight frame supported by an air of grandeur and heartache. There was very little communication between the crowd and Cluck, only stopping her performance to introduce new songs and to allow for snatches of overwhelming applause.
Cluck eyeballed the crowd in a hawk-like manner, as though despite the sheer vulnerability present in her lyrics she could still pack a punch. Her vocal style suggests a woman pained by her recital of traumatic events, but the reality is despondent, even bored. But her delivery leaves nothing to be desired, her voice possessing levels of clarity and inspiring empathy that no other artist could.
The impact of her enigmatic performance was stunted by a somewhat abrupt ending as Cluck introduced her last song and milled back through the crowd in the direction from which she had came. The appreciation of the small Coventry crowd was immense, every member aware that they had witnessed one of the most talented, radical and innovative musicians ever to tour England.