I’d heard good things about the live shows of Seth Lakeman, from Folk leaning friends, and although I knew some of his music, I still wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I needn’t have worried though, he was as entertaining as I’d been led to believe.
Seth Lakeman and his band kicked off their show at the De La Warr Pavilion, on Friday evening, part of a short five date UK tour, with a few choice cuts from his most recent album, 2014's ‘Word Of Mouth’.
I was struck straight away by the variety of those songs. An indication of that being the drummer/percussionist playing full drums during the opening track, then a Cajon, which he also used instead of a drum stool, and finally a Bodhran.
We were then treated to a selection of brand new songs, due to be recorded with producer Ethan Johns in the Spring of 2016. Seth Lakeman described one of those songs as ’Spiritual’, a very apt word to use I think, as the final song of this section had an almost Gospel feel at times. That upcoming album already sounds very promising.
From here on in the pace of the show was picked up and went into real crowd pleasing mode.
In fact the whole show was perfectly paced from start to finish, with the various moods of the songs complimenting each other and used to great effect.
Seth Lakeman certainly knows how to engage a crowd and also has a very good rapport with them, he’s a born entertainer, and clearly enjoys his ‘work’.
The near capacity audience was encouraged to get involved as well, which they were very happy to do, whether that be by dancing in the aisles, or singing along.
During ‘Portrait Of My Wife’, the closing track from ‘Word Of Mouth’, Seth Lakeman stepped to the front of the stage and sang the whole song solo, without amplification, with the crowd heartily joining in during the chorus’ and sounding in great voice too.
That is one thing you do tend to find with the audience at a Folk gig, they can all sing and don’t need much encouragement to do so either.
Although Lakeman performed solo at times, the other musicians deserve a mention for playing their own part in delivering a quality show. I was especially taken with the double bass, played with both fingers and bow.
A nice touch was to use the trio of female voices belonging to the support act, Wildwood Kin (who were very good by the way), as backing singers during many songs. Something they seemed to delight in too, in fact all the performers were obviously enjoying themselves up there.
The climax of the show was a storming version of ‘Kitty Jay’, a song guaranteed to get even the most stubborn of toes tapping along. A very fitting end to the main set.
The inevitable and well deserved two song encore closed proceedings, during which just about the whole audience was on its feet, and rightly so.
The final song of the evening even had a seasonal feel, as Seth Lakeman added in a snippet of ‘Jingle Bells’ on his violin, very appropriate.
He finally left the stage promising to return to Bexhill again, having enjoyed himself so much, a nice early Christmas gift for all of those present I’m sure.
I’ve no doubt the vast majority of them will be back again next time, myself included.
You can find Seth Lakeman at: sethlakeman.co.uk