Well, this was going to be interesting as I wasn’t sure what I’d make of Seth Lakeman only having seen him on a couple of TV appearances when he was up for the Mercury Awards some years ago. At the time I remember thinking to myself he appeared a little too ‘brash’ for my tastes. Having said that, pre-judging can backfire spectacularly and I have to hold my hands up particularly when it blurs my judgement towards the negative without giving the lad a chance. Rarely before a show have I experienced the buzz of anticipation from a predominantly youthful crowd (surely not at a ‘folk’ audience) and I certainly wasn’t expecting the girlish giggling from a group of excitable teenagers perusing their programmes. Still, on to the performance and my, what a performance! The first half of the show saw Lakeman in reflective mood utilising his musicians; Sean Lakeman (guitar), Benji Kirkpatrick (mandolin, bouzouki and tenor banjo), Simon Lea on drums and percussion to their full potential and I don’t think I’ve heard double bass playing as good as that displayed by Ben Nicholls since I first heard Danny Thompson when he was playing with Ralph McTell. The second set comprised of Seth presenting his ‘dance’ driven audience with ever increasing pounding rhythms and to their obvious enjoyment finished the performance with a ‘solo’ featuring his flashy double-stopped fiddle and close-miked foot-tapping. Andre Rieu please note how it should be done. Following a well-deserved encore we had to brave the freezing elements of a cold March night but at least there were plenty of glowing faces.
Artist’s website: www.sethlakeman.co.uk