Thursday, 17 October 2013

SETH LAKEMAN/LISBEE STAINTON

Live Review

Robin2, Bilston

Without taking anything away from Sean or Sam, but of all the Lakeman clan Seth was undoubtedly at the front of the queue when it came to handing out musical talent.

Talented Seth Lakeman
He wields his instruments like a seasoned warrior wields his weapons and he has the energy to make you feel breathless just watching him.
However, a strange thing with the concert at the Wolverhampton venue was that often Lakeman the folk singer disappeared and Lakeman the pseudo rocker took over.
He opened the set on his bouzouki, with a track from his Tales From the Barrelhouse album, Blacksmith's Prayer and right from the off there was the ridiculously intrusive and annoyingly loud "traditional folk instrument" the drum kit.
It was the most unnecessary piece of equipment and marred many of the songs with its thumping noise sending shock waves all the way down the building, and even more ridiculous was that the opening was the mild end, it gradually got worse as the set went  on.
The same happened on Take No Rogues it was overpowered by this intrusive heavy beat and the whole song sounded more like rock than folk, perhaps this is where Lakeman is travelling, it remains to be seen.
For The Sender, Lakeman was joined on stage by his special guest Lisbee Stainton, who herself is due to start a tour on the back of her latest album, Mind Games - due out November 4, and her lyrical voice picked up the harmonies of Lakeman's singing although overall her efforts seemed lost amid all the banging of the drums.
Lakeman on stage with Lisbee Stainton
The folk Lakeman came to the fore with Solomon Browne, which is a tribute to lifeboat crews, and saw him take up his fiddle for the first time which led nicely into Portrait of my Wife from his forthcoming album, Word of Mouth, and is already available on the Full English which Lakeman is involved in along with a host of other big names in the folk genre.
The concert moved more towards the folk again with White Hare where Lakeman took up his guitar and was accompanied harmoniously by Stainton on the five string banjo.
When at his best Lakeman rams energy into his fiddle with playing that can leave you feeling like you have been on a 20 mile run by just watching, his enthusiasm as he rakes the bow across the strings is incredible and looks almost like he is trying to cut the instrument in half in the wonderful songs he plays one of which was Lady of the Sea.
Showing the gentler side for the ballad Apple Of His Eye Lakeman, using the fiddle like a ukulele and playing pizzicato, fused softly with Stainton on her harmonium and with her lilting and sweet voice coming over the top. 
Lakeman used his versatility to switch from the sound of a jug band, to country then whipping up the crowd with a hoe down number then bringing it all together with The Courier which was a heavier beat ballad.
Before the obligatory encore Lakeman did his trademark amazing fiddle solo, Kitty Jay, under an atmospheric spotlight the only problem, it was once again marred by the unnecessary and ridiculously intrusive banging drum.