Seth Lakeman at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
You may well have noticed, at the start of a gig, that the venue is almost entirely empty. It fills up slowly during the first hour or two, as people creep in, assuming that the warm-up acts must be over by now.
I’ve always thought this was a great shame. I mean, come on, people, it’s free music! It’s an exciting chance to discover a new, little-known band who might just turn out to be one of your all-time favourites.
I must say, though, that the people who came slightly late to see Seth Lakeman at Shepherd’s Bush on the 20th February didn’t miss much. The first warm-up act was Christina Aguilera gone very wrong.
It wasn’t just that she was howling. She had this rather dated “country” image and sang folk songs, which really didn’t work well with the pop diva-esque hollering. It was a shame, as the guitar accompaniment was actually rather nice.
“Folk Christina,” as we termed her, treated us to what must have been a good forty-five minutes of the agonies of her soul. She then thanked us effusively, saying, “You just never want it to end.” Oh, but we did.
Then came Carus Thompson, who was literally hopping from one foot to another with a very infectious joy. He was rather like an Australian Tigger, and immensely likeable. He played the mouth organ and specialised in a sort of McFly-style feet-together bounce. He even managed audience participation without its falling flat on its face.
Seth was, of course, the main event, and he was certainly no disappointment. This is slightly irrelevant to the music, but I would just like to say: What a beautiful man. What a very beautiful man. As one besotted girl called out at the end of The Band of Gold, “I love you, Seth!”
He played a real variety of songs: everything from Kitty Jay, through the Freedom Fields tracks, to his latest stuff; a real mix of fast-paced, stomping fiddle-playing and soulful love ballads. There was something for everyone. He did, unfortunately, tend to dance either like a pigeon or a robot as he was playing, but we’ll forgive him for that because he’s Seth.
If you haven’t seen Seth Lakeman in concert yet, I very much recommend it. Just beware of any small screechy women he may happen to have tagging along.