Bellowhead - Live At Shepherds Bush Empire

2009 dvd

Live At Shepherds Bush Empire - Bellowhead

the bright young folk review

Being filmed in September 2007, this is mainly a live rendition of their first CD, Burlesque. But let’s be clear - this isn’t a timid recital of dusty old folk tunes, this is one the most entertaining live bands doing what they do best. They are having the time of their lives and bring the audience wholeheartedly with them. Even the numbers which take a bit more effort on CD are brought to life by the verve of the performance and the witty banter cements the friendly atmosphere.

For the veteran we get official record of a few rarer tunes. With Haul Away you get a sea shanty, but performed with uncommon vigour and a joyous energy that has to be seen to be believed. The glee which Jon Boden sings The Spectre Review (the sole track from their 2nd CD) is remarkable.

The venue seems smaller and darker than I remember it and the camera cuts around a lot. This works well for the more energetic numbers but can be distracting in the quieter moments. The close shots are a lot clearer than the wide shots of the whole band. The DVD extras are good but vary in rewatchability. Brendan’s fly-on-the wall tour diary is the highlight, where we get a tour of Pete Flood’s ailments and Heath Robinson drumkit.

Musically and performance-wise there are no low points. It’s been a long time coming but it’s a worthy record for all that have already been charmed by the exceptional Bellowhead live experience and hopefully will convince a few of the uninitiated to give it a go.

Christopher Friedenthal

Due for release 0n 9th February 2009.

Features every track they played live that night with the exception of One May Morning Early.

1. Prickle-Eye Bush
2. Jack Robinson
3. Outlandish Knight
4. Across the Line
5. London Town
6. Haul Away
7. Spectre Review
8. Rigs of the Time
9. If You Will Not Have Me, You May Let Me Go
10. Death and the Lady
11. Hopkinson’s Favourite
12. Flash Company
13. Rochdale Coconut Dance
14. Fire Marengo
15. Sloe Gin
16. Jordan
17. Frogs Legs’ and Dragon’s Teeth

Bellowhead discography