“Under The Radar” – Jon Boden

OIW welcomes the return of our legendary music mogul, “Keefy”, to the blog! Yes, Under The Radar is back, read on…

This month we have Hospital visits curtailing any radar activity but fear not I have a couple of gigs to report to the good people of O.I.W…

A rare sighting of Keefy!

A rare sighting of Keefy!

So it was with much trepidation that I slunk down to the Boardwalk, Snig Hill, for my first ever “folk gig”. Why, you might ask, would Keefy be attending such a gig? Well, top muso and songwriter Jon Boden’s album “songs from the floodplain” had been in heavy rotation on the new turntable -and a piece of work it is too. Boden has excelled himself musically and lyrically on the album that is a concept/folk/apocalyptic vision of an England with no oil and no soul! I heartily recommend you give this album a spin.

Anyhow I set off early expecting a large gathering due to Sheffield’s enthusiastic trad and nu folk community. I handed my ticket in and wandered into the venue. John Barleycorn be praised I was in the wrong place (or so I thought). About 50 folks (sic) were sat round tables and the atmosphere was that of a village “whistdrive”. Portly bearded gentlemen wearing fleeces and sandals were demanding Real Ale at the bar, blue rinse ladies chatted amiably about the weather.

The support act was an elderly gentleman wearing a flash waistcoat playing old English folksongs on a real phonograph-Not records -those tubular affairs. Very cool I thought. Each tune was met with knowing nods and polite applause. Time for the man. There was no mad rush for the stage by the somewhat ageing audience and no last minute surge of hip young folksters at the door!

All this is a shame because Jon and his band the “Revenant Kings” are pretty damn good. Suited and booted they launch into a really tight set that is a mixture of old and new material. The old stuff I didnt know was ok, if a little M.O.R., but the “floodplain” songs were attacked with menace. ” Wasteland” is nothing short of awesome, “April Queen” is beautiful and “Dancing in the Factory” is delivered with almost unfolky ferocity. Jon chats between songs and there is a meet and greet at the merchandising table. He seems to know most people there.

I leave feeling deflated for some reason that is hard to explain. I wanted to know more about the songs and his reasons for creating such an amazing album. I was also saddened by the poor turnout for an artist who really deserves supporting, maybe the nu-folk is “stay at home”. Shame.

“Songs from the Floodplain” by Jon Boden is on Navigator.
Stop Press : “Tramlines” Festival in Sheffield this weekend I will be reporting in. “The Violet May” are playing twice. Remember you heard about them on “Under the Radar” first!

x Keefy

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