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The Unthanks/Malvern Theatres
THE Unthanks succeeded in making the Forum feel much more intimate and cosy than its 1,000-plus capacity would suggest by bathing it in swathes of lush folk and Geordie charm.
Billed as an opportunity to witness sisters Rachel and Becky close up and paired down in the guise of their core quintet their fine line in weaving a story and their cheery manner made the sold-out show feel surprisingly personal.
They transformed the room into a corner of their native north east through a blend of rearranged traditional songs and tales of ship-building and journeys through the countryside.
A particular highlight was an enjoyable medley that played on their contrasting vocal deliveries and built to a breathless version of the pounding Lucky Gilchrist.
The mood became even more relaxed in the second half with the support act Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell returning to the stage to add their lush vocals to an atmosphere which felt like an informal folk club.
On stage the line-up chopped and changed every few numbers with both group and individual performances grabbing the attention.
The occasional appearance of clog dancing from the sisters helped to cement the feeling of witnessing a truly unique outfit comfortable with offering everything from snapshots of early albums to recent projects and glimpses of future adventures and rarely heard material.