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Jon Boden - The Stables, Milton Keynes - 22nd April 2018 | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

Jon Boden - The Stables, Milton Keynes - 22nd April 2018

 Betyg

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Tonight's show at The Stables was former Bellowhead lead singer, Jon Boden. It's not all that long since he played here last, but since his last show here he's released his latest album, Afterglow.
The Stables is an all-seated venue and despite it being a Sunday night with people having work the next morning there'sa good turnout - in fact I've never seen a poorly attended show here. There's no support act tonight, so it's just Jon Boden doing two sets with an interval in the middle.

He kicked the show off with some traditional songs, the first performed on the fiddle, and the next couple on different guitars. Rather than just play and sing, he's also got an extra instrument - a very shallow flat box that he stands on (it's barely noticeable unless like me you are sitting to one side of the stage). The box is mic'd up so as he taps his foot or stamps it gives a sound like a drumbeat, so he's able to add a drum sound as well as singing and playing guitar.

After those first few traditional songs, he then spent the rest of the first set playing songs from the Afterglow album, but rather than simply playing them, he first told the story each of the songs tell (the whole album tells one long story). It was interesting that while the songs tell a story, there's a lot of detail left to the listeners imagination. It's basically a love story set in a post apocalyptic world but if you want to know more then you'll have to listen to the album, or even better go to one of his live shows.

The second set saw him continue with songs from Afterglow to continue the story, and amongst his own songs there was a cover of Whitney Houston's "I wanna dance with somebody". It's a very stripped down version and has a much slower pace, so it's very different to the original, but it gives it a totally different feel - far more intimate and it makes you focus more on the lyrics than in the original. A surprising but excellent cover.
After ending the story-arc, it was back to the traditional songs, and again it was interesting to hear him talk about the background to some of the songs. To end the night he played some songs that Bellowhead fans were certain to recognise, and they certainly did as they joined in singing along to songs including "Roll Alabama roll" and "New York girls".

A Jon Boden solo show is very different to a Bellowhead show. It's less lively and more intimate, but the most important thing is it's still a great night hearing great songs from a very talented musician.

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Writer: Anthony May
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