A first for me a gig in walking distance of my home! Cornerstones is a cosy, modern theatre. It was a sold out show to see former Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden play a solo gig in support of his recently released new album ‘Afterglow’.
‘Afterglow’ follows on from his 2009 post-apocalyptic concept-album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’, with ‘Afterglow’ telling the story of two star-crossed lovers trying to find each other amongst a backdrop of decaying buildings, burning oil drums (in part based on his own experience of seeing the annual Lewes bonfire festival), fireworks and a tribal party.
A brave move by Jon Boden as he played all of the new album, bar ‘Yellow Lights’ and many in the audience most probably hadn’t heard the album in its entirety. The album sees Jon Boden venture into more mainstream sounds, although the folk musical backing is still there.
Jon Boden played guitar, fiddle and concertina plus a board on the stage’s floor he tapped his feet on a drum/bass beat. I am sure it has a technical name! This was cleverly linked to a series of thin standing lights on the stage, making for a great effect.
He started the show with a few songs not on ‘Afterglow’ including a delightful version of Bellowhead’s ’10,000 Miles’ and a long folk ballad, which he joked the audience needed to listen to at least the first four verses, as otherwise they would lose the plot of the song. The Bellowhead songs in the set of course received the warmest reaction from the crowd, who after a quiet start soon started to join in with the songs with a little encouragement from Jon Boden.
His between song chat was informative and humorous at times, as he gave a fascinating insight to the ideas behind the songs on ‘Afterglow’. He was fairly rocking out on the guitar on ‘Dancing In The Ruin’, whilst his commanding, yet gentle vocal shone through on ‘Bee Sting’ and ‘All the Stars Are Coming out Tonight’ – one of the songs of the evening.
His version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ was stunning, taking the tempo right down and with just an acoustic guitar backing, proof a good song can be performed in any style.
The set finished with a few Bellowhead tunes, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’, ‘Roll Alabama Roll’ and an stirring encore ‘New York Girls’, which all worked well in stripped down form. ‘New York Girls’ really got the audience up on their feet and joining in. Shame it was the last song in the set, however in this solo setting, coupled with Jon Boden’s singing and playing, you are totally involved and taken by the music.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening of music by one of our most talented singer/songwriters around today.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Solo – November
Fri 10th Connaught Theatre, Worthing
Sun 12th Theatre Royal Winchester
Mon 13th Number 8, Pershore
Tues 14th Ludlow Assembly Rooms
Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings dates – November
Fri 17th Sage Gateshead
Sat 18th The Leadmill, Sheffield
Sun 19th Victoria Hall, Settle
Mon 20th Haverhill Arts Centre
Tues 21st St. Mary’s in the Castle, Hastings
Weds 22nd The Scala, London
Thurs 23rd The Lighthouse, Poole
Fri 24th The Globe, Cardiff
Sat 25th The Cheese & Grain, Frome
Sun 26th Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
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