Friday, November 27, 2015


27 November 2015

As a result of the recent attacks at the Bataclan in Paris, we arrived at the Riverside Theatre in Aylesbury on Sunday to discover a massive queue down the street, waiting to go through newly introduced security checks to get into the Bellowhead concert. This was my last chance to see Bellowhead, now well into their farewell tour before disbanding after 12 years together. I have written often here about English folk music's unique 'big band' and it was wonderful to see them one last time on Sunday. Support was provided by Keston Cobblers Club – a great young band who sound a lot like Beirut (reviewed here in November 2006 and October 2007). Bellowhead were on top form, playing for more than an hour and half, with the audience eating out of their hands. They sounded magnificent and all eleven musicians looked like they were having a ball. The recent English folk music revival has been strongly influenced by many musicians whose parents were part of the last great folk revival in the 1960s, and who have grown up in folk music families whilst assimilating a wide range of pop and rock music. When the duo Spiers and Boden, themselves already established folk music stars, invented a folk big band which brought together musicians from folk, classical and jazz backgrounds they created a unique sound. They may not always have pleased folk purists but when we look back on this golden period in English folk music I suspect Bellowhead will be remembered as its iconic band and I will be proud to be able to say I saw them.

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