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.