Live Reviews

In these uncertain times things change rapidly but there's a satisfying continuance here tonight in the double Welsh flags on the bass amps, the huge tunes and sky scrapping riffs of opening numbers tonight. Recent single 'International Blue' which in its live version sounds like it will exist long in the set list beyond new album 'Resistance is Futile' promotional tour (or perhaps thanks to digital consumption do new albums exist to promote tours?), and ' You Stole The Sun From My Heart'.

Finding the music stage at The Cookie feels like gaining admission to a Prohibition-era speakeasy; after entering the bar you head down a set of wooden steps to be met by a door which upon opening reveals a dimly lit room with a low ceiling and a stage at the far end. We're entering the gloom here tonight to see those self-proclaimed purveyors of 'Forlorn English Balladry' Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker touring in support of their new album 'Seedlings All'.

“And YOU can be there!” said Mark Radcliffe back in February, after reading out the Folk Awards nominations on his radio programme and announcing that this year's ceremony would take place in Belfast. I immediately decided I'd better be, and so it was that I found myself in Belfast on a wet and windy afternoon last week.

Tonight’s visit to the legendary City Varieties in Leeds is a first for me, and long overdue although music is only part of this venues repertoire with most of the upcoming programme being reserved for stand up comedians and theatre. For older readers, the venue hosted The Good Old Days several decades ago, and was a regular in my house growing up as a kid.

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