Posted by Chris Audsley.
Reviewed on 12th November 2008.
Live at Leeds Metropolitan University on Sunday, 9th November 2008
So how do you prepare for a night of folk from one of England's rising stars? By checking out some hip-hop break dancing up at the Stylus.
The event at Stylus was to continue the good work that the late Mothers Against Violence campaigner Pat Regan had started following the death of one her own sons. The event was being hosted by Pat's other son Shane Fenton, who is determined to ensure that his mothers work doesn't go to waste.
When we arrived mid-afternoon the event had already been going for a couple of hours and the elimination rounds for the Under-18's had already finished. Later we saw the Heavy Smokers, a crew from Scotland, win this age group.
The full competition that we did get to see was the 'Mighty 4 Warm Up Sessions' which was a competition for crews of three (must be a mix of boys and girls). After some pretty exciting, tight rounds the winners were the Kelso Pirates. For what it's worth I thought the other team would win, but I was getting wrong all afternoon.
The host Shane Fenton also got involved in the 'The Dirty 30's - Leaders Of The Old School' competition against a pair of Swedish guys, who ended up being the winners of this particular dance-off.
I have to say the event was great fun, even though hip-hop isn't my thing. The dance competitions were very compelling and was pleasing to see such a massive turn out for a great cause. There was a wide range of ages, shapes and sizes taking part and all were encouraged to show their moves. It looks like this kind of event will become a regular fixture.
After that we made the short walk down from the Uni to the Met for the Seth Lakeman gig. Ready for a coffee, I was a trifle miffed that I was told I couldn't have one because it was a gig, only to see the guy next to me polishing off a cappuccino. Oh well.
The support for the night came from a three-piece girl group called Baskery. It was good set-up with a double bass booming away and one member playing both the banjo and drums with the lead vocalist also on guitar. The music was leaning towards country and the harmonies were fabulous.
The main act for the night, Seth Lakeman, came on at about 9pm and straight away the crowd reacted to the lively start from the band. It was a three or four songs in before the first ballad 'King and Country' was played and offered the band and the crowd a much needed rest.
Regular touring has obviously helped Seth Lakeman as he gees up the crowd with his showmanship and banter. The real excitement comes from his fiddle playing. He blasted through a couple of solo pieces like 'Lady Of The Sea' which I was totally captivated by. He backed this up with lively ho-down for the penultimate song of the night.
The rest of the band are no slouches either. Ben Mitchell played a beautiful double bass and was just as handy with some smoking banjo licks. The drummer changed between a standard drum kit and some traditional percussion. All these added to the variety.
Seth Lakeman clearly has a successful formula, even if at times the subjects maybe dour, and with his ability to put on a really energetic performance has enhanced his popularity. Being a folk gig virgin I was really surprised by the excitement he generated, it was almost like being at a pop concert.