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Bellowhead Live – The Farewell Tour

There are a number of things which have struck me every time I have been fortunate enough to have caught Bellowhead live in concert.  One is that I am clearly not as old as I thought I was.  I mean, looking at the audiences around the country during these shows, some of the women there put me in mind of Harry Enfield’s lecherous old ladies; indeed, on the odd occasion, I felt like some of them were looking at myself and photographer Paul Reno – no spring chickens ourselves, if truth be told – as though it must be Freshers’ Week.  It’s the first time I’ve felt young in some time, and that’s a good thing, right?

The second major positive is the remarkable vibrant energy the band’s frontman, Jon Boden, brings to proceedings.  It’s a joy to watch, and Boden is such a commanding presence over both band and audience that it’s easy to understand why the remaining members have decided to call it a day upon his impending exit at the end of this, their farewell tour.

These spirited, animated performances are abundantly evident on their supremely packaged triple disc Bellowhead Live: The Farewell Tour, recorded at various venues in November 2015, especially upon the third disc – a DVD filmed in my hometown of Leicester, in the magnificent surroundings of the legendary De Montfort Hall.

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Tonight, though, at Northampton’s Derngate Theatre, we are approaching the final furlong of the band’s twelve-year gallop (there are just five shows remaining in the career of Bellowhead), during which they have barely ever slowed to anything less than a canter, and as a result, the general public have taken them so dearly to their hearts that you could perhaps describe them as a grand national treasure.

Even now, you could never accuse Bellowhead of resting on their laurels or merely going through the motions.  There is clearly still a burning passion in their bellies to ensure their audience gets everything they want and more.  This evening, as the band  often wont to do, their set begins, deceptively to those who don’t know better, with the rather more maudlin ‘Amsterdam‘, before exploding into life with old favourites like ‘Roll Alabama‘ and ‘Betsy Baker‘.  From that point on, there is little let-up, as we are once again treated to one of the most vigorous, joyous sets the Midlands is likely to witness in 2016.

Bellowhead is soon to be no more.  Long live the Bellowhead!

Bellowhead Live: The Farewell Tour is out now on Navigator Records

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.