Live at Black Deer: Morganway

June 18, 2023
We’ve managed to snag better seats at the café! Soft chairs line the front of the stage and we’re close to the bar with a ‘golden ticket’ table seat. This gives us a great view of the artists of Morganway as they pile onto the stage, feathers in lead singer SJ Mortimer’s hair, a boho top over her flowery trousers, bright, hippy sunglasses completing her look.
Straight from the off this band have high energy, the musicians – guitars, fiddle, drums, vocals and keys – stamping their feet and moving to the sound of their own music. If we weren’t so afraid someone would steal our chair we’d be up and dancing with them.
They play ‘Come Over’, a song from their recently released album ‘Back to Zero’. It’s tight, well rehearsed, and whilst it’s more laid back than the first song, there’s an attitude in the chorus that gives this song an edge.
At this point we’d like to shout out the sound engineer: this is one of the smallest stages at the festival but the levels are spot on, and we’re able to hear clearly the mix of harmonies, blend of the fiddle and guitars, and still feel the drum urging our ears on. The singer’s voice is excellent, without a single note misplaced despite her bold runs and large vocal range. Their songs give place for each of the musicians to shine either through solos or complex rhythmic backing, and they’re rewarded with one of the loudest rounds of applause we’ve heard at the festival yet. We’re all focused intently on the stage, (even the lady knitting to my left hasn’t lowered her eyes for at least several rows) and the singer is not wrong when she says ‘this positively buzzing!’
Mortimer flirts with the audience, peering at us over her large sunglasses in ’Feels Like Letting Go’ before the band head into a more dancey number, ‘London Life’, and their bouncing is in unison.We’re impressed by their energetic commitment because we’re feeling hot just looking at them, and even though it has now moved firmly into lunch time, the crowd has stayed with the band until the finish – an a cappella vocal solo that brings goosebumps to my arms and legs.
Between Morganway and their predecessors The Dunwells, we’ve definitely found two new favourite bands of the weekend. But it’s only Saturday morning and there are still so many great bands to see, so we’re ready to follow my ears and head back into the fray.

Words by Becca Walker pics by David Court

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