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Review: Books, Theatre, Movies, Albums & Gigs.

Seth Lakeman live in concertSeth Lakeman

The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

February 4th, 2015

Rating: 10/10

Sometimes it just impossible to put into words just how good a particular show is, but given that this is sort of the job of a reviewer then it is pretty incumbent to try. Seth Lakeman at The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall was, to put it mildly, exquisite. There, job done.

Okay, so no it isn’t because – at the risk of hyperbole – it remains to explain why. This bit is simple though because the answer is everything about this show is “why”. The lighting adds layers to the mass of depth beneath the masterfully composed songs which are each filled with emotion, pathos, humour, wit and guile so that the audience becomes embroiled in an emotional tumult from the moment the winner of the 2014 BBC 2 Folk Album of the Year for Word of Mouth steps on stage and picks up his fiddle.
Adding to this are the images displayed on a vast screen hanging at the back of the stage which display Celtic or Cornish icons throughout, so that the correct ambience is created thereby allowing the band – and what a band – to perform to the max.

Lisbee Stainton on backing vocals is delightfully composed in delivering her faultless energy to what is already an electrifying gig, with a voice that is so layered it may well be a parcel wrapped for a kiddies parlour game. Cormac Byrne is the powerhouse behind the percussion unit, switching from instrument to instrument with an effortlessness that belies the effort he so clearly imbues in his playing and the subsequent joy he derives from it. Ben Nichols on double bass is all cool calmness right up until Lakeman and he engage in fiddle / double bass duel during Hold Your Fire which has the audience on its feet at the climax and is a song only outdone by the beautiful Portrait of my Wife as highlight of the evening.

And Jack Rutter on guitar and banjo is, simply, majestic in doing what he does so well and this is to control his playing with aplomb and so letting the music do all the work.

Yet it is Seth Lakeman and his cool, charismatic affability, perfectly blended set list and ability to woo and cajole an audience with his words and playing that mark his shows as being one of those rarities in life: A Gig Not To Miss.

 



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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