Odin Dragonfly

The Old Rectory, Sutton Benger

4 November 2023

I saw what I think was the the first official Odin Dragonfly performance in 2005, before they had even released their debut album. Since then I've seen them about a dozen times, but very rarely playing a a full-length set. And the last time I saw them, playing a very short support set, was five years ago. They've never even played the songs of their second album live. In short, Odin Dragonfly gigs are rarer than a really rare thing. And Odin Dragonfly gigs are among the most beautiful I've ever been to.

So when they were booked for a house concert in a village in deepest Wiltshire, I bought the ticket before even thinking of the practicalities. Two of my favourite singers performing a full length set for the first time in years. Nothing was going to keep me away from this.

This is only the second house concert I've ever been to, and I don't think I'll ever get used to the idea of sitting down in someone's living room and listening to a band. But while it still feels strange, it's also wonderful, an experience you'll never get in even the smallest, most intimate regular venue. The crowd is all respectful and attentive to the band, nobody talks or gets up to go to the bar, and even a confirmed introvert like me feels completely at home in a group of people who are all here for one common purpose.

Odin Dragonfly (Heather Findlay (voice, guitar, high and low whistle) and Angela Gordon (voice, piano, flute, and also managing the sound tonight)) are simply perfect. I've been following them for more than two decades, first together in Mostly Autumn, then in various other musical endeavours, and neither has ever disappointed me, as a musician or as a songwriter, or even as just a nice person.

Tonight is split into two halves. The first half has mostly songs from their new album, Sirens>; the second is mostly from their debut, Offerings. They only play those albums, with the exception of the encore, Winter is King from the Mostly Autumn Christmas EP from ... 15? ... years ago. But they play almost everything from each album, giving us well over two hours of music and chat (not counting all the time spent mingling and chatting before and after the show).

It feels like Angela takes more lead vocals in the first half and Heather in the second, but I don't think that can actually be true. They're a complete partnership: each equally impressive as a lead voice, and each able to find the perfect harmony line to the other's lead. Traditionally, Heather is the low voice while Angela sings high, but there are times when they switch and Angela quite remarkably sings below Heather. The octave singing on Witch's Promise (yes, it's the Jethro Tull song) starts with Heather low and Angela high, then they literally reverse that for the second verse. It's truly astonishing, even to me, who has seen them do it a dozen times before. I don't believe there's a greater singing partnership in the world today.

And there's always a feeling with Odin Dragonfly that you're not actually at a concert. You're just lucky enough to be watching two friends who love to play music together. There's a lot of humour, banter, laughing over the minor technical hitches, knowing looks when a arrangement goes a bit ... unconventional ... and it all makes the perfect atmosphere in a setting like this.

I have loved this duo since before Odin Dragonfly even existed, and I always will. This was just the perfect evening. And the best concert I've ever seen.