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Pauline Keightley - PKImage: Portrait and Music Photography and Review

Sunday 10 Feb 2013

Bellowhead - Celtic Connections 2013

Photo: bellowhead. Review Bellowhead by Pauline Keightley

Bellowhead, the ten-piece English contemporary folk band, gave an exhilirating performance at Glasgow's ABC 02. Between them the band play a number of instruments and include a four-piece brass section. They were great fun, talented and entertaining and presented an ideal opportunity for photographs.

I met another photographer there, who was shooting for the English Folk Dance and Song ( EFDS), an organization which was set up to promote English folk music. He was very familiar with the band and explained that Bellowhead started with the duo of Jon Boden and John Spiers. Speirs plays melodeon and concertina and Boden plays fiddle and guitar and also stamps the rhythm on a stomp box. The pair brought in the other musicians to form a full band ? filling a gap in the market for a top quality English folk band. Their line up includes - Benji Kirkpatrick, Rachael McShane, Paul Sartin, Pete Flood, Brendan Kelly, Justin Thurgur, Andy Mellon and Giles Lewin.

At the gig they sang vocal harmonies on traditional folk songs and also played an assortment of jigs and reels of traditional country dance tunes plus sea shanties. Their sound draws on a diversity of musical styles and influences from the old English tunes, such as Greensleeves and Can You Dance the Polka, to a sound similar to the popular 70s band, Steeleye Span.

The band are highly entertaining and Jon Boden is a naturally theatrical front man. On stage the band are both polished and energetic. The packed crowd of all ages were clearly up for a good night and they were in no way disappointed. I highly recommend the band to anyone looking for a fun night out and it was good to see a band making folk accessible for a younger audience.

Bellowhead richly deserve the accolades that have been heaped upon them ? five-times winners of 'Best Live Group' BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010 and BBC Radio Folk Award 2012 for their album Broadside, which made number sixteen in the UK official album charts and number one in the UK independent album charts. Their previous album Hedonism went silver (selling over 60,000 copies) and is the highest selling independently released folk album ever. The band developed a new ale to go along with their album release!

I did wonder why they weren't playing at the more atmospheric Old Fruitmarket with its olde worlde charm. It would have fitted their sound perfectly. Maybe next time.

Review by Pauline Keightley

Friday 8 Feb 2013

Aimee Mann Celtic Connections - review by Pauline Keightley

Photo: aimee mann 02 ABC Glasgow photo pauline keightley. American singer songwriter Aimee Mann performed at Celtic Connections 2013 at Glasgow's ABC 02. Known for her insightful songs and well received albums, including Charmer, her eighth studio album released in 2012.

In her honey-toned and expressive voice she performed songs from the album, including: Living The Lie, Soon Enough, Charmer, Disappear, Labrador and Slip and Roll.? She also sang Save Me, the song she wrote for the film Magnolia, which was nominated for a Golden Globe.?

In addition we were treated to some of her extensive back catalogue?and she performed: Wise Up, Fourth of July and I Should Have Known. Also in her set were a couple of covers, One, a Harry Neilson?s song, and for a bit of fun she sang a Thin Lizzy number for her encore.

Mann draws her audience in with ease with songs that are subtle and sincere and which seem to hold an undercurrent of uncertainty.

She was accompanied by a very tight band, and as she said herself, 'she rocked in melody in a soft rock kind of way'.

Amelia Curran and Ted Leo provided excellent support and she performed a couple of duos with Leo, who is an American punk rock/indie rock songwriter and multiinstrumentalist. He's played in the bands Citizens Arrest, Chisel, The Sin-Eaters, The Spinanes, and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists.? Amelia Curran is from Newfoundland and has followed her Juno award-winning Hunter album with Spectators.?

Aimee Mann is married to songwriter Michael Penn (brother of actors Sean Penn and Chris Penn).

Review by Pauline Keightley?

Weblog archive

Review: All Will be Well Celtic Connections 2013: Saturday 2 Feb 2013

Cara Dillon with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Glasgow City Halls: Friday 25 Jan 2013

Twentieth Celebration Concert - Celtic Connections 2013: Sunday 20 Jan 2013

Review Emeli Sande Old Fruitmarket Glasgow 10th April 2012: Sunday 29 Apr 2012

M?nran at the Late Sessions Celtic Connections 2012: Tuesday 7 Feb 2012

Fred Morrison at Celtic Connections 2012: Sunday 5 Feb 2012

Madison Violet: Sunday 5 Feb 2012

bring it on home concert for gerry rafferty: Thursday 2 Feb 2012

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011: Thursday 27 Oct 2011

The Raghu Dixit Project at OranMor: Sunday 14 Aug 2011

Stag and Dagger Festival: Monday 23 May 2011

Michael Marra at Mugdock: Wednesday 11 May 2011

The Low Anthem,: Saturday 23 Apr 2011

March, 2011: Tuesday 15 Mar 2011

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