An impressive, multi-layered combination of players and instruments – Morning Star Online

PERSONNEL-HEAVY English folk band Bellowhead walked away decisively from live performances in 2016 with a sell-out show at the London Palladium so they were keen to portray this global concert stream as nothing more than a one-off reunion, organised to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their successful third album, Hedonism.

Operating together under strict Covid-safe conditionsin Stabal Mansion near Epping Forest, their hour-long, 15-song set was, naturally, based around songs from Hedonism, although there were excursions into other albums.

While the feel and subject matter of their roustabout material makes their recorded work rather samey, when it comes to the live experience theres no doubting they know how to hit the spot.

Benefiting from slick production and an excellent sound, they were clearly well-rehearsed and glad to be back. Even watching on a laptop, its possible to get a sense of the energy the band generates in a live situation.

With self-assured, theatrical frontman Jon Boden looking fresh and happy and the 10 other members of the band equally charged up, even without an audience the atmosphere was fun and animated.

There were six of Hedonisms 11 tracks, led by the two highlights of the performance,Captain Wedderburn and Cold Blows the Wind, plus plenty from other sources too, including the opener Roll Alabama, the jaunty, fiddle-based March Past (which has not actually appeared on a studio album) and a finale of London Town.

All very tight, all thoroughly enjoyable wrapped up in an impressive, multi-layered combination of players and instruments, with oboe and horns especially effective.

Around 8,500 tickets were sold for the initial showing, but the concert can be viewed online for some time yet. If this was really a one-off, then its worth watching; if not, then its certainly whetted the appetite for more.

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An impressive, multi-layered combination of players and instruments - Morning Star Online

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