O2 Academy, Bournemouth

It’s not every day you see a band which has eleven members, but tonight saw Bellowhead headline the O2 Academy to record and film their new DVD entitled ‘Hedonism’ after their latest album. Bellowhead are one of few folk acts who have managed to build themselves up to a reputation worthy of the most popular contemporary bands at the moment and this was made clear after they broke into five figure record sales on their latest album with ease, despite their genre being very difficult to market.

The only support act of the night are three piece folk band, 3 Daft Monkeys, and I have to admit I only saw half of their set. Despite this, they seemed full of quirkiness and passion for their music with a bass, violin, guitar and vocals creating a very wholesome folk sound which was very impressive considering there were no percussion instruments used. Songs like ‘Paranoid Big Brother’ had the crowd jigging all over the place as it was clear there was some serious talent in this band. Their violin player danced around the stage, while still in control of her violin to create some fantastic riffs. I’m not sure if that’s the correct term for violins but even still, 3 Daft Monkeys were undoubtedly fantastic to watch.

The time has finally come for Bellowhead to take to the stage and a short turn around sees the eleven piece folk outfit gradually take to the stage one by one as an appreciative crowd cheers them on. Front man, Jon Boden has recently become a sort of icon to the folk world for his unique and incredible ability vocally and when playing the violin. As he walks on, the crowd erupts into big cheers to show their appreciation to a man who has helped drive this band forward through their time as a band.

The band break into ‘Yarmouth Town’ which gives off an instant inviting and jolly feel to their folk fuelled sound as the crowd starts to sing along and dance. There is a continual pulsation of edgy instrumentals surrounding the venue as the bands eleven members manage to work together to create a truly phenomenal and complex sound, while maintaining order and precision whilst playing together. The band seems relaxed and composed as they smile from ear to ear with no visible nerves shown which will look great on the DVD. Jon Boden remains serious with his messy hair and long outstretched arms giving off his unique image as a front man. His vocals seem effortless as he hits note after note with ease and shows some real quality with varying pitch.

There is no doubt that the packed out crowd were after the bands most popular track ‘New York Girls’ from their album ‘Hedonism’, and as the band announced the song name, the crowd were jumping together and even I forgot that it was a Monday night and not a weekend. A couple of encores sees the crowd screaming for more and eventually the bands set comes to an end with an explosion of confetti showering the crowd. There is no doubt that this band is destined for success and with an explosive live show, the festival season will be a joy for them.


Words by George Fullerton.

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