Seth Lakeman Band live review plus new EP: live with the BBC Concert Orchestra

Seth Lakeman Band Ipswich Corn Exchange Sunday 21st October 2012. A top-class night at the very nicely refurbished Ipswich Corn Exchange.

After watching Seth grow as a musician on and off since his late teens with his brothers and Equation, through his emergence as a solo performer and post Mercury Prize nomination take off, this was Seth, and band, at one with the stage more than it has seemed in a while and firing on all cylinders, it was great to witness.

Two elements have lifted the live performances lately, one is the return of the much missed Cormac Byrne, the beating heart of a band on Bodrhan and anything else he can hit, including an anvil this time! Now the perfect band line up is complete with the addition of Lisbee Stainton an inspired decision alongside the four guys , and I hope they don’t let her go. Having a female voice on stage has now opened up Seths back catalogue more and taken his shows into a new phase. A live Lakeman show has always had an edge,drive and theatre but now the edges have been softened a bit which is very refreshing. Apart from vocals, Lisbee is a pretty handy musician too, the toys on stage have been added to with a harmonium and she plays a mean Banjo.

We were treated to songs covering the last 10 years and 6 albums. It was great to hear songs rarely given an airing from John Lomas from Kitty Jay to up to date songs like The Sender From Tales From The Barrel House.

It was a fast paced evening and the opening two song weld of More Than Money and the brilliant Blacksmiths Prayer set the tone of the night and it didn’t let up until the end of Race To be King that had everyone up and dancing .

Highlights at Ipswich were Seth and Cormac thrashing out Bold Knight and the band driving a full on Zeppelin like Blood Red Sky (I could always hear their influence in this ) and then as contrast the lovely Changes and White Hare with Lisbee.

I could not write a review without highlighting Seths signature song, the bow shredding Kitty Jay with added eerie back lighting for extra drama, I have never yet seen him play this and the room not been worked into a frenzy and exploded when the last note fades, it’s still thrilling after all these years .

Seths albums from kitty Jay on-wards have always had a sense of the dramatic, now he and his band have the tools and the graft behind them to bring that onto a stage fully, it’s taken a while, but I think they really have a show that they have been trying to perfect for a few years, and now should be proud of.

Seth really has come a long way down the road from the rough and ready gigs with the sudden endings,dare I say he is turning into a showman.

Go see him next time he hits the road.

Trish Roberts

Artist’s website: