Talk about being late to the party. Twelve years after Bellowhead got together I finally saw them live, on nearly the last gig of their final ever tour. What was even worse I loved it.

I have never before seen a band with more ability, enthusiasm, comedy and drama. There are several things I couldn’t get my head around:

1. How you jump off a speaker playing the violin
2. How you dance wearing a large brass instrument
3. Why a sequinned waistcoat seemed appropriate for a folk gig
4. Their never ending supply of bizarre percussion instruments
5. How they got so many middle aged people to stand up in City Hall so early on in the set
6. Why Jon Boden is so appealing
7. What the hell is a helicon
8. How the three year old who went was still bouncing at 11 o’clock at night when he left the venue
9. How the audience were encouraged to raise their arms up and down with very little resistance.
10. How it’s possible to make playing the cello look jaunty.
11. Who knew there were so many forms of concertina
12. Why “whores” are referenced quite so often (but my friend says thats usual for folk music as are songs about death)

There are probably many more questions but I was so blown away I forgot the rest, along with the word for tambourine.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. A review of something you will never see (unless you have a ticket for the rest of the tour) isn’t overly helpful I guess. Hopefully it might encourage you to look up all eleven players individually and go and see what they are up to next. Or buy Bellowhead albums if you don’t have them already. But my Mum is right, nothing is like seeing Bellowhead live. Sorry.

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