Friday, September 21, 2012

Woody Guthrie celebration feat. Billy Bragg - 16 September

Mr and I were again back at Southbank for a show last Sunday. This time, Billy Bragg and his special guests were celebrating Woody Guthrie's legacy. As Billy himself says, he's not sure how he got the job of putting Guthrie's words to music, but if you've ever heard Mermaid Avenue, he did a good job of it, IMHO.
And that album introduced me to Wilco, which is quite an excellent band to drive to. Live, they have too many guitar solos for my taste, but Mr actually likes long guitar solos so we agree to disagree on this point.
So, here were all were at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Prompt, because it struck us as that kind of gig. The first up was Grace Petrie, who BB said was following in his footsteps or something like that. She was very personable and got the audience on-side with her banter.
She played a few protest songs: Maggie Thatcher's Dream is one of the tunes. I keep thinking, after 20-odd years, don't we have any new Conservative bogeymen? Thatcher's pretty much done to death. Surely someone can come up with a decent protest song about the strangely large foreheaded David Cameron.
But never mind, five songs and she was off, with much applause. Then, Joe Henry was up. The liveliest he got was when he was singing Woody Guthrie songs. Which was kind of the point. He had a nice voice but not a load of charisma.
After a decent interval, the man himself arrived on stage. Billy produced an amiable set and kept the audience entertained with Woody songs. My Flying Saucer is a personal favourite. The other two then joined him onstage, which was the highlight of the whole show. They all have very good voices and it ended the show on a high note.

Marks out of 10: 7.5, up and down, but mostly up.