Show of Hands - With the Urban Soul Orchestra & Live at Shrewsbury Folk Festival

2014 dvd

With the Urban Soul Orchestra & Live at Shrewsbury Folk Festival - Show of Hands

the bright young folk review

Folk scene veterans, Show of Hands, are renowned for their arresting and atmospheric live shows. To celebrate their 21st anniversary, the band have released a DVD as they begin the Hand in Hand autumn tour to support the release of their 14th studio album Wake The Union.

The two different parts of the DVD, ’Show of Hands’ and ’Making The Waking’, combine a behind-the-scenes perspective of the bands’ latest studio album. The DVD features the infamous Steve Knightley, Phil Beer and constant guest musician Miranda Sykes whose live set is expanded upon by the input of members of the Urban Soul Orchestra.

Recorded at the 2012 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, the DVD features nine of the band’s best and most popular songs.

The DVD allows Show of Hands’ signature emotive melodies to shine, with strong vocals and poignant lyrics that define their sound. Knightley’s gritty and recognisable voice compliments the sweetness of Beer’s string harmonies and the depth of Sykes’ bass lines. The sounds of violin and double bass are layered and given more gravity by the support of strings and even the piano by the Urban Soul Orchestra.

The sound on the DVD is balanced and clear, and the variety of camera angles allows the viewer an intimate experience of the performance. The different visual and auditory elements of a live musical performance are well communicated to the viewer in this DVD.

The DVD captures the great stage presence and incredible gift for audience captivation and participation of a band in its prime. The vision and sound of the great enthusiasm communicated by the audience is infectious. Through this vessel, fans of Show of Hands who may have missed the festival season or who simply want to once again feel the buoyancy of summer, the very best music, and the magical atmosphere that so encapsulates the great folk festival, can relive the experience.

This DVD offers a fascinating and arresting insight into two different perspective of Show of Hands; both the live performance and behind-the-scenes of what goes into the creation of a studio album. The successful fusion of complex orchestral layering with the traditional folk works beautifully. It leads one to question whether a future studio album of a similar nature may be forthcoming in the near future, for it would without doubt be a success without diminishing the sound and integrity of the band.

Emily Bright

20th January 2014 by Hands on Music.

1. Innocents’ Song
2. Gwithian
3. Are We Alright
4. The Dive
5. IED: Science or Nature
6. Exile
7. The Blue Cockade
8. Now You Know
9. Santiago

Show of Hands discography