Friday, December 11, 2020

Bellowhead - live online concert

11 December 2020

Regular readers will know I have been a fan of the English folk big band Bellowhead since I first saw them at the WOMAD Festival in July 2006. When the duo John Spiers and Jon 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. For twelve glorious years Bellowhead performed stunning new arrangements of traditional folk tunes that got toes tapping and faces smiling across the world. I last saw them on their farewell tour in 2015 at the Riverside Theatre in Aylesbury (reviewed here in November 2015). So it was an unexpected pleasure to have the opportunity to enjoy another live performance by Bellowhead last Saturday as they played a one-off online reunion concert to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their album ‘Hedonism’ (reviewed here in October 2010). It was a typically slick, exuberant, joyful show, excellently filmed by Stabal – a platform for live performance on-demand content – at a mid-18th-century mansion nestled deep in the English countryside. Rapid cutting between a host of handheld cameras made you feel like you were in the room with the band. I love a band that dances to its own music and there was some manic morris dancing on display here. This is a band that demonstrates musical delicacy, the ability to turn on a sixpence rhythmically and knows how to rock out. It was lovely to revisit some old favourite tunes, with a few new twists, and quiet emotional to see Bellowhead back together again. For a flavour see Bellowhead’s July 2020 lockdown video of ‘New York Girls (Live From Home):

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