On the last night of February, Hoxton Bar and Kitchen played host to a rag tag group of bearded, dreadlocked folksmen, led by Lloyd Yates. The Channel Islands born group, now settled in South East London, have a particular sound that sets them apart from the ever growing indie folk scene. Similar in practice to Swedish folk musician ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’, Lloyd Yates crafts a distinct and purposeful vocal sound. A voice that defies description, the only way to understand Lloyd Yates’ brilliance is to hear him live. The other distinguishing feature for Lloyd Yates is the brand of heavier driving bass and drum beats that accompany otherwise melodic folk music. Moshing at a folk concert seems about as natural as eating a bowl of steel wool for cereal, yet somehow Lloyd Yates’ sound inspires you to do just that (mosh, not eat steel wool).
Perhaps it’s his ability to “deliver heartfelt, meaningful lyrics and emotional performances”, or perhaps its the sheer awesomeness of watching a man whose dreadlocks nearly reach his knees bounce around on stage. Either way, one cannot help but move with him as he plays, a fact reinforced by the standing-only venue where most folk concerts take place in seated halls or churches. Despite donning the ‘uniform’ epic folk artist beard, Lloyd Yates does well to step outside of that box. His lyrics are interesting to listen to and his sound is a melange of heavier rock and classic English folk, and if you can catch him live it’s worth the money (the Hoxton gig was a mere £6) and you’ll never look at folk music the same way again.