SALISBURY’S Red Lion Hotel once again hosted some fine Irish music over the bank holiday weekend.
On Sunday night Finbarr Sheehan's Irish Music On Tour brought new band Iontas down from London to play.
Iontas have recently formed, with three musicians from the well-established London Lasses joined by Conor Doherty on guitar.
They play a variety of material, based around traditional Irish dance tunes with some ballads and music from other traditions.
It took the band a little while to warm up, which wasn't surprising because it was only their second gig together and their music is complex and ambitious.
They are blending traditional tunes with a more modern style of accompaniment, which generates very interesting musical contrasts.
The evening came to life a few songs in, with a pair of traditional reels.
These featured stunning tin whistle playing by Karen Ryan and Elma McElligott, offset by angular and crunchy accompaniment from Doherty's guitar and Pete Quinn's keyboards.
They introduced their final piece as a "Bulgarian dance tune in 7 time".
It was full of minor keys and strange time signatures, and again the contrast between the lead and backing musicians generated wonderful tension and energy.
It looks as if there is some very exciting music to come from Iontas.
Support came from Salisbury duo Jadiie Pepperell and Ryan Whitston.
Pepperell’s strong vocals and Whitston’s sympathetic guitar backing quickly won the audience over and they were not allowed off the stage without an encore.