Four to the floor back to raise the roof

Drop The Floor
Drop The Floor
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Folk quartet back in Lancashire for final festive gig of a hectic year

Blazing fiddles, whistle solos, the skirl of the bagpipes and the ping-pong percussion of the banjo, Drop The Floor’s musical repertoire is heading home this Christmas.

The high-energy quartet recorded their toe-tapping debut album, Raise The Roof, at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre – and that’s where the Ribble Valley lads will finish a hectic year of song and dance with their folky festive party on Sunday.

“Our first gig was supporting Chris Sherburn, the concertina player and the Irish singer Denny Bartley at the New Inn, so Clitheroe has played a huge role in Drop The Floor’s development,” said singer Richard Moss, who works at Reidy’s Music store in Blackburn.

“Two of the guys, Steve Johnston and Daniel Burke are from the town, and we did the album there, so it is great to be finishing 2014 at home – we want to get everybody’s feet stamping at the Grand on Sunday night.”

Infectious, leap-about fun, Drop The Floor produce a dancehall jive of Caledonian roustabout sound from the heart of the Ribble Valley.

Richard teamed up with the band when they met by chance at a St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh at the now closed Pendle Hotel.

And their splendid set at last summer’s Cloudspotting Festival provided one of the highlights of the weekend.

“Cloudspotting was amazing because when we played it was raining so hard, yet the crowd really got into the vibe of the occasion and it was just so memorable,” added Richard.

“When we first played together it was just very knockabout stuff, but I was amazed at their fresh musical ideas.

“We enjoyed each other’s company, we were just mates who had a beer together, and I don’t think anybody could have predicted what it has become.”

One of Drop The Floor’s most instinctive ingredients is the sound of Steven Johnston’s Uilleann Pipe playing.

Johnston is self-taught, and Richard added: “It is a really evocative sound, and Steve has dedicated a decade to learning the pipes.

“It is an extremely difficult instrument to master.

“I tried to play it and I could hardly get a note out of it, but it has become an important part of Drop The Floor’s sound.”

Richard added: “The folk scene in Clitheroe is in rude health, and the New Inn has become a focal point for so much new music.

“There’s a great love and respect for folk’s tradition, but all of a sudden there’s a new generation who are embracing it and adding something new to that wonderful tradition.”

Drop The Floor, supported by special guests Oishala and Burnley singer-songwriter Baxter Rhodes. Clitheroe Grand Theatre, December 14. 01200 421599. £8.

Tony Dewhurst