REVIEW: Seth Lakeman, Plug

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DEVON-raised singer songwriter Seth Lakeman calls into Sheffield on his UK tour before jetting off to Australia.

A Mercury Prize nomination in 2005 raised his profile and now touring soon to be mainstream released sixth solo album Tales From The Barrel House, following a sold out limited run, the multi instrumentalist attracts a big crowd in the main room.

Once part of The Lakeman Brothers with siblings Sean and Sam, Seth stepped out on his own in 2002 and gradually built a fanbase until 2008’s Poor Man’s Heaven broke into the album top 10 and brought Glastonbury and V festival appearances.

It’s proved hard to maintain those heady heights but tonight with a wonderful set of songs the 34-year-old has the crowd in the palm of his hand from the off. With a setlist tasting most of his albums, Seth bravely begins with new songs More Than Money and Blacksmiths Arms, then moves onto a more familiar road with John Lomas.

Many songs are tales of tragedy such as Solomon Browne, about the Penlee Lifeboat disaster, but amazingly when performed in such an animated energetic way they remain uplifting.

Seth’s fine live band has Sean on guitar, Simon Lea on percussion of varied kinds and Ben Nicholls on double bass and banjo, but Seth asserts his billing with a cracking solo rendition of Kitty Jay with his vocals soaring over his delightfully melodic violin, building to a mesmeric crescendo that brings 30 seconds of applause.

While under the folk umbrella it’s far from traditional, but it still ticks all the boxes with the wonderful encore Lady Of The Sea and Race To Be King closing an exceptional 75 minutes.