Saturday, July 12, 2008

Poor Man's Heaven - Seth Lakeman live in Frome.

Well, all I can say is that it was something special.

Seth Lakeman and his band were show-stopping. It is probably the only time that an artist with a top-ten album (UK #8), for the first time and on the week of release, has played 'The Cheese & Grain'. That was to a sold-out audience (of 625), as part of Frome Festival 2008, and I wonder if it will ever happen again? The set was brilliant and included tracks from all the albums. There were many highlights but two in particular come to mind:

Solomon Browne from the new album 'Poor Man's Heaven', which is about the disaster that befell the Penlee lifeboat of that name on 19 December 1981.
It was smashed to bits, with the loss of all the volunteer crew and all who they were attempting to rescue, when the ship-wrecked coaster Union Star rolled on to it during the rescue attempt in 40 ft seas. I don't think I've ever been to a concert that reduced a significant proportion of the audience to tears.
On the other hand another potentially sad song,
tty Jay (the title track from the 2004 album and the story of a suicide), was given a rousing version that, with Seth playing such furious fiddle that he was shredding his bow, means Dartmoor ponies must now forever live in fear of their tails being requisitioned. It was also the song that took the gig, and the audience, into truly remarkable territory.

It was not only a wonderful show but also a fine example of the changing face of music. I was however slightly annoyed by the reception given to the support act; much of the audience simply talked loudly at the back as though they had gone to a pub and there happened to be live music. I know that is not unusual but I still think it rude. In fact I now think the problem was, at least in part, that the sound was set up badly and that her genre of music was not what most of the crowd was expecting.
It wasn't exactly in accord with my expectation either but, as I wanted to be near the front, I wasn't ever going to make that obvious. In fact I had no idea what 'support' to expect as, although that there would be some was mentioned, it was not specified on anything I could find.
To be honest Bex Marshall did a fine job playing electric guitar (country & delta blues style) and singing, without any back up, in what must have been a very trying situation indeed. It just strikes me as an odd choice of support and that it would have been better if she had been with her band rather than solo. For all that I wouldn't be averse to listening to the album Kitchen Table and in fact I'm much minded to buy it.

Kitchen Table (House Of Mercy), 5 May 2008.

She played only one cover version and a brave, quite impressively successful, one at that. A bluegrass-rock version of Hendrix' Purple Haze!

1 comment:

Be a Goddess music said...

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sam x