Woodburner is a regular live music night in East London, set up by the musician Theo Bard and showcasing a diverse range of more-or-less acoustic acts. It has moved between various spots in the Hackney area over the few years it has been around. When I first went in 2011, it was in a big warehouse in the process of being taken over by artists. The next few times, it was next door to that, at a beautifully designed arts cafe called the Russet. This autumn, it has moved to a place called Stoke Newington International Airport (STK). Despite the name, STK has the feeling of an underground lair, with mysterious machines, twisty corridors and half-painted walls and floors. The concrete ceiling is marked by damp, but the air smells clean and fresh. Barred skylights allow in just enough of the outside world to keep us breathing.
Usually three or four bands play at each event, and the last act tends to be something you can dance to. This week's bands were all excellent, and worth writing about both on their own merits and to give you some idea of the sort of thing you'll hear there. My experience has been that the music is always interesting and fun - you could base a pretty good music blog on nothing but who plays at Woodburner.
First up was 'intO the mOOn', who play what I would describe as gypsy folk rock with occasional hints of a reggae rhythm. With a bearded singer-guitarist, a top-hatted fiddler and a red-jacketed drummer, they are stylish and unsurprisingly Paris-based. They could easily work as a purely instrumental three-piece, with tunes that make me dance on the spot and sometimes laugh out loud, but their American singer makes them something else again.
The second act was Ruth Theodore, a singer-songwriter with a lovely voice and excellent guitar technique. She sang and played solo for most of the first song, before her bassist sauntered on with a bottle of beer and sang some backing vocals. For most of the rest of the set, she had a full backing band - who were very good considering that some of them had apparently never played together before. She is charming and funny both as a songwriter and between songs, prefacing one song with a long and entertaining ramble about Pinocchio - the original book - by way of explaining the references she figures most people will miss.
The John Langan Band, who closed this week's event, are a Scottish institution, apparently based in London now. I must have heard dozens of Edinburgh hippies enthusing about them over the years, but I somehow kept missing them when I lived up there. They don't disappoint, playing full-on get-up-and-dance Celtic-Balkan folk music with more energy than three musicians have any right to muster.
Woodburner currently happens every Tuesday at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane, E8 3DF. Doors open from 7:30pm, music from 8pm, £4 entry.