Bellowhead, Billy Bragg, Karine Polwart and absent friends.

Last night was the long-awaited concert at Kew that I’d more or less insisted my husband buy tickets for. He hadn’t really heard of Bellowhead, bless him, but given the hours he works it’s a little surprising he knows what daylight looks like, so I’ll forgive him.

Bellowhead were stunning – any group containing musicians who can fiddle while singing, leaping in the air and still keep accurate time with each other clearly is a force to be reckoned with. It was a joy to see such musicianship combined with humour and intelligence – I did try and keep track of all the musical genres given a nod in their pieces but gave up under the onslaught of sheer bravado.

The audience was a very broad demographic – there seemed to be no common link other than the appreciation of the music, which was lovely to see. I shall forever treasure the memory of someone who looked just like a retired accountant shoulder bopping in his garden chair, desperately trying to keep from spilling a glass of wine, while over the way a family of 3 were leaping up and down, throwing a stuffed toy to each other. A thought struck me as we were walking out at the end of the evening – I wonder how many of the audience are also fans of the Ukes?

Billy Bragg proved that there’s a very good reason he’s still performing, gathering plaudits and just generally being deserving of a reputation as a great performer. Never having seen him perform live before I hadn’t quite appreciated what a good fit he would be with a Bellowhead audience, but it didn’t take long before it was obvious how good a choice it had been.

Karine Polwart was a lovely discovery. I’d not previously heard who had filled the gap in the bill left by Fisherman’s Friends, so had no pre-conceptions. Her voice is wonderful, and her performance was a perfect start to such a warm (in all senses) evening.

I’d come across the concert details many months ago, while looking for places I could go and see Fisherman’s Friends. They were missed last night. I, and I suspect many, many others, wish them all well. In a perfect world the events of the spring would not have happened and they would have been at Kew. I like to think there would have been room for Karine too in that case. That’s how it is in my imagination anyway.


About kentishlol

Wife, mother of three, dog owner, and rank amateur at everything. You don't really want to know that I bake, knit, garden, make marmalade and sloe gin, do you? Thought not.
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