BELLOWHEAD + MAMA ROSIN Roundhouse, London Wednesday 7th November 2012
I was excited to see my first Bellowhead concert having discovered their wonderful brand of folk music a few years ago. A suitable venue as well, as the Roundhouse is one of the better London gig venues and ideally suited to the large crowd gathered to see Bellowhead. On the crowd it was a good mix of ages and some hardy souls had dressed as pirates (well they do play sea shanties and their new album is called ‘Broadside’!).
First we had the Swiss trio Mama Rosin, whose line-up of guitar, accordion and drums was novel. They played a heavy mix of blues, zydeco and Cajun music. They certainly warmed the crowd up and the guitarist’s style of playing reminded me of the legendary Ry Cooder. Certainly a band worth seeing live.
Now for Bellowhead, playing their biggest London gig to date and kicking off the set with a flurry of songs of their new album ‘Broadside’. First we had the rather disgusting tale of ‘Black Beetle Pies’ followed by ’10,000 Miles Away’ (my young son’s favourite song and video at the moment as some the band dress as pirates in the video). This is a ridiculously catchy tune and has picked up radio airplay including on Chris Evans Radio 2 breakfast show – it deserves to be a hit single.
The eleven piece band, ably led by lead vocalist Jon Boden, switch musical instruments with ease and despite a four piece brass section, no one instrument dominates the sound. At one stage four of them were playing fiddle creating a wonderful sound and special mention to Pete Flood who played all manner of percussion, adding to the already full and varied sound. The instrumentals like ‘Dockside Rant’, slot into the set nicely showing what a highly talented band they are.
The band had the audience on their side from the start and there was hardly any let-up in the foot stomping pace of the songs. ‘Sally Racket’ was the most frantic tune of the night, with Benji Kirkpatrick playing his guitar like some thrash metal titan. ‘New York Girls’ was another quick fire number and you could only play one encore in London, ‘London Town’ which saw the band leave to rapturous applause.
I had high expectations and was not left disappointed as Bellowhead are simply of the best live acts I have seen, a real joy to behold. Go and see them as they have just started their UK tour, plus they have added more dates for next February.
OPEN – NORWICH – 9TH NOVEMBER
CORN EXCHANGE – CAMBRIDGE – 10TH NOVEMBER
GUILDHALL – SOUTHAMPTON – 11TH NOVEMBER
COAL EXCHANGE – CARDIFF – 12TH NOVEMBER
BRIGHTON DOME – BRIGHTON – 13TH NOVEMBER
READING HEXAGON – READING – 14TH NOVEMBER
THE ASSEMBLY – LEAMINGTON SPA – 15TH NOVEMBER
YORK BARBICAN CENTRE – YORK – 16TH NOVEMBER
COLSTON HALL – BRISTOL – 17TH NOVEMBER
LYRIC THEATRE – SALFORD – 18TH NOVEMBER
ENGINE SHED – LINCOLN – 23RD NOVEMBER
Fri February 1st ABC, Glasgow
Wed February 13th New Theatre, Oxford
Thu February 14th City Hall, Sheffield, Sheffield
Fri February 15th Lighthouse, Poole
Sat February 16th Arts Centre, Warwick
Mon February 18th Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
Tue February 19th Baths Hall, Scunthorpe
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