Seth Lakeman at the Sage Gateshead 07/11/16
By Guest Blogger Nath Adams (NE Sounds)
This concert was a great experience and really opened my eyes to folk music. Being a musician I already had some understanding of folk music, however a very limited understanding of the genre and its sub genres. This concert took place in room one of the Sage a beautiful 1,640 capacity auditorium with an adjustable ceiling to help capture the best acoustics depending on performance.
We took our seats in the auditorium around 19:25. It was clear by the lack of empty spaces that this was going be to a great show and that Seth has a great following in the North East.
I’d say the age range was predominantly 30-60 however there were a fair amount of younger people attending this gig, including myself.
The concert began at 19:30 and we welcomed warm up guests Wildwood Kin to the stage.
The trio from Exeter, were a member down on this 7th day of the tour due to drummer Meghann Loney unfortunately being ill. Therefore, sister’s Beth and Emillie Key filled the first half an hour slot.
The duo explained the circumstances and how some of their songs may sound bit different without a drummer, however their performance was still great and people we’re extremely impressed especially the person behind me that tapped their foot more times than Seth Lakeman’s drummer.
Wildwood Kin opened with their track circumstances. Armed with an electro acoustic guitar and a bouzouki they set the mood for the night.
Their first track really demonstrated the natural acoustics of the Sage room 1 as their fingerpicked chords rung out across the auditorium. The slowly changing stage lights beamed a red and purple on to the duo, this really helped complement the peaceful mood and I guess you could say it was some sort of a calm before the storm. Everyone knew of the energy that Seth would create during some of his songs and it was just a matter of time.
The duo went on to play a few songs ending on their single Warrior Daughter and even covered a song by Cosby Stills Nash.
After a short break we headed back into the auditorium and sat for a couple of minutes. The house lights darkened a deep drone swept across the concert and the silhouettes of Seth and the band emerged on stage. The heavy rumble of a floor tom filled the room as the drum was struck 2 times in a row. Just from these 2 hits the energy lifted in the room and we knew that Seth would be pushing the tempo faster than Wildwood Kin.
As the stage lights changed to a prominent purple we could see the full band and their array of instruments. Armed with instruments including a double bass, banjo, violin, drums and percussion Seth and the band opened with their track courier.
After the first track Seth then played “Take no Rogues”, a great track that had a very middle-eastern feel during the double bass solo. I was really impressed by this solo!
The multi instrumentalist (Seth) then explained about how he’d played this venue a number of times and had worked on musical projects at the sage. He then introduced the track “Stand by your guns” a traditional sea song that he’d arranged for his band.
Folk musicians often tell stories within their lyrics. Similar to the blues they may sometimes tell stories of pain and sorrow or oppositely they may even tell stories about happy memories, etc. During Seth’s concert there was a clear theme his lyrics and choice of covers linked heavily to the sea and sailing.
With his tales of the sea and new tracks from “Ballad of the Broken few” Seth had created a very emotional feel within the room, he invited Wildwood Kin back to the stage to accompany him with vocals for some tracks.
It was now time to pick things up a bit and get the crowd more involved. During “Ballad of the Broken few” Seth encouraged Members to join in with the chorus.
By this time I was definitely enjoying the concert but needed a little bit more energy. Luckily Lakeman then when on to play “Innocent child”. This track had a more Rock distorted sound to it and came at the right time.
From now on the concert adopted a more Rock feel. Something that traditional Folk fans may not like however the energy was about to pick up in the room and the audience was ready. Last rider was played and people started to dance in the aisles.
Seth kept the energy up for a couple of songs before performing a solo on a song called “portrait of my a wife” a song that people would commonly sing to their partner when drinking alcohol especially during this festive time of year. The performance of this song was really intimate as Seth walked to the front of the stage and performed this song with out a microphone.
Seth then picked up the pace playing another two of his faster songs with really had strong influences of Irish folk. The show was over and it was definitely fair to say it had been a great night.
The display of musical talent during this night was amazing and I couldn’t fault the performers at all, however if i was to see Seth Lakeman again I’d love to see him in a venue where people would be able to dance more. Auditorium 1 is an amazing room and really did serve its purpose for the concert especially during the slower songs the natural echo and reverbs were beautiful to hear however it would have been such a bonus to have an area to dance in during the faster tracks. This concert really opened my eyes to folk and its fair to say id definitely see Seth Lakeman again.
Article by Guest blogger – Nath Adams (NE Sounds)