Billy Bragg, Union Chapel, Islington (London, UK. 5th June 2013)
Really, all is need to tellyou is that for the second encore Billy Bragg played the whole of his debut album LIFE’S A RIOT WITH SPY VS SPY for you to understand what an amazing show this was!
In thirty years, Bragg has travelled the path from angry young man, to political activist to national treasure and his live performances are among the best you’ll ever experience.
Yes, he’s still political,that campaigning mind-set is written in his DNA but he juxtaposes hard-hittingviews with self-deprecation and so endears himself to his adoring legion of fans.
Backed by a four-piece band that came together during this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Bragg commanded proceedings from the off and never let up. Delving into his back catalogue as well as performing songs from his latest album TOOTH AND NAIL we just savoured every minute of the two and a half hours. He tripped down memory lane, he paid tribute to Dust Bowl Troubadour Woody Guthrie, he acknowledged Margaret Thatcher for giving him a career, he railed against those responsible for the economic crisis and he dedicated Sexuality to all those fighting for same sex couples to be allowed to marry. His finger is firmly on the pulse of what ails the country and he contends that the enemy of all of us is cynicism – our own – it’s down to us as individuals to make the world a better place.
We were so fortunate to be in the audience for tonight’s sold out performance – it was a tour de force! But you might not have to just take my word for it as the whole show was being filmed. Hopefully, it will be on general release at a cinema near you so you’ll get the opportunity to experience for yourself the force of nature that is Mr Billy Bragg!
An absolute triumph! Jela Webb