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Seth Lakeman, Wildwood Kin

Venue: Derngate
Town: Northampton
Date: 3/12/16
Website: http://www.sethlakeman.co.uk/

Sinister drone heralds arrival of Seth Lakeman and band to Northampton stage, Seth often cited as the UK's most acclaimed young folk artist with his 2004 Mercury nominated album "Kitty Jay" at fore-front of West Country music revival. Percussionist Cormac Byrne's pounding drum cuts through the static as 4 brave souls launch into 'The Couriers' it's lyric "high wind roads" portent of dark tales across Dartmoor wilds. Number stirring audience back to life having been sated from the earlier opening of Wildwood Kin, who featured a superb range of styles in their sound - delicate harmonies to some rather excitable foot-stomping jig-inducing numbers.

Crowd in rapture as journey continues delve into more of the earlier work that established legacy and folk credentials as next Seth plunders "Freedom Fields" with exuberant 'Take No Rogues' before double bass of Ben Nichols, having long stood at Seth's side and as part of folk super group gathering The Full English, harkens call of 'Stand by Your Guns' traditional account of sea battle.

Perfect depiction of scene, again the double bass of Ben Nichol, this time a low cry echoing pitch of fog horn carrying across perilous water in 'Poor Man's Heaven'. Stage invite to Wildwood Kin, trio feature on the wonderfully stark arrangements of current album "Ballad of The Chosen Few" and foil to Seth Lakeman's trademark fiddle stomp, their gorgeous vocals returning to arena. Special merit of earlier good listen with sad tale of family loss, journey commencing with 'Circumstance' which recounts life's mistakes. Frenetic almost tribal rhythm of 'Salt Of The Earth' lifting things up a notch ahead of thunderous claps of Radio 2 play-listed single 'Warrior Daughter'. Thank you to the encouragement and kindness encountered by sisters Beth & Emilie Key and cousin Meghann Loney signal nights continuation.

First revelation of "Ballads Of The Broken Few" in the form of the mournful 'Anna Lee' Seth accompanied by the close harmonies of the girls which also counterpoint Seth's wail in the big sound of song that finds inspiration from his children 'Innocent Child'. 'Silver Threads' a gentler moment ahead of return to album "Freedoms Fields" with song reminder and powerful lament to 1934 Gresford disaster.

'Last Rider' tracks former railway worker at St Mabyn, while extended almost rock workout 'Lady Of The Sea' complete with rich tone of double bass and electric guitar delivers audience to precipice. Salvation temporarily administered with Seth stepping away from microphone in sing-along toast prior to girls rejoining him for performance of DVD exclusive 'Bury Me'.

Finale and lights up reveals everyone now on feet as show closes with return to breakthrough album, the aforementioned "Kitty Jay" providing encore in shape of 'Blood Upon Copper'. Dramatic conclusion of stage performance from assembled multi instrumentalists completed by guitarist Jack Rutter.

Spoilers kept to a minimum by purposely omitting some of the song titles and lacking description of unusual violin use, wander upon the tour and see the spectacle yourself.

Tony Wilding

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