Bellowhead performing their Broadside Tenth Anniversary Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 23rd November 2022

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It has been a long time since Bellowhead last performed live, but when the eleven strong ensemble took to the stage on Wednesday night at the Royal Concert Hall, it was as if they had never been away.

This tour is to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their fourth album, Broadside, the band’s awesome 2012 follow up to their 2010 breakthrough album Hedonism, which saw them make history when it became the highest selling independently released folk album of all time.

From the opening chords of Byker Hill, it was clear that the band were really excited to be able to flex their incredible musical talent. And with Jon Boden leading from the front, their fusion of pure folk arrangements along with anthem arranged guitars, just served to show how talented this band really are.

Never remaining still for a minute, they made use of every inch of space available. And with the opening half being fun, well rehearsed and packed with nuggets from Broadside, Byker Hill, 10,000 Miles Away which was full of pomp and glam, the hilarious Old Dun Cow and the sublime Betsy Baker all did everything that needed to be done to engage the crowd

But by far the most poignant and memorable part of the evening was the tribute to the band’s recently deceased multi-instrumentalist, Paul Sartin. As his voice emerged from the PA for an unaccompanied first verse of Brisk Lad, the band joined in with a heart rending six part harmony and great instrumental backing that had the crowd reflecting this solemn moment.

But the mayhem was quickly restored as The March Past, with its melodeon, brass section and strings all creating a cacophonous wall of sound, before Lillibulero, Roll Alabama, London Town and New York Girls all induced a mass crowd sing along. There was also the manic Black Beetle Pies and the unnerving sound scape of The Wife Of Usher’s Well

For the encore the crowd shouted for Roll The Woodpile Down which the band duly delivered before they launched themselves into Frog’s Legs And Dragons Teeth that saw everyone on their feet in celebration of the return of a truly brilliant live band.