By Christopher Arnott
10:21 AM EDT, May 5, 2013
Plenty of bands have had strong Yale connections, and play any number of places on campus when they visit New Haven on tour. You might find name acts at the GPSCY Bar, the Yale Cabaret, an undergrad college attic, the “YBC House” on Dwight Street, a dorm lawn…
For the mostly British band Stornoway, their New Haven venue of choice is the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. The band’s main songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Brian Briggs, and his brother Adam, who has also played with the band, are the sons of Peabody director Derek Briggs.
Stornoway’s brand of “nu-folk” (a label the band isn’t completely comfortable with) has done very well in England and Ireland. The band is signed to the hip 4AD label. Their debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill made it to #14 on the UK pop charts and #3 on the UK Indie charts, while the singles “I Saw You Blink” and “Zorbing” made it to #12 and #4 on the UK Indie charts respectively.
The first time Stornoway played the Peabody a few years ago, the occasion was photographed for an awe-striking two-page photo in the prestigious music magazine MOJO. Last time the band appeared, they’d (hastily) written a new song, “Bloodsucker Blues,” in honor of the museum’s special exhibit on bloodsucking insects.
There’s nothing especially science-geeky about Stornoway. (The band name came from a small Scottish town which none of the members had ever been to.) But their songs are artfully articulate and not afraid of multisyllabic words.
Stornoway plays Sunday, May 5 at 12:30 p.m. in the Hall of Dinosaurs at Yale’s Peabody Museum, 170 Whitney Ave., New Haven. (203) 432-5050, http://peabody.yale.edu/The show is free with museum admission.