Review: Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Glee Club
Jon Boden's mission is to seek out folk classics – songs that will stand the test of time, even if periodically neglected and forgotten.
He and the Remnant Kings ended the first of their formal sets with one such song, Rose In June. The title refers to a ship, and the piece was a favourite of Tyneside performer Lou Killen. This version sounded just glorious.
Extracts from Boden's own dark-hued Songs From The Floodplain formed the spine of the evening. The lyrics concern the aftermath of a natural disaster, besides touching on the human folly behind it. But the writer doesn't preach or declare himself blameless. Instead, he creates melodies and dances as powerfully haunting as the traditional protest songs that studded the evening.
And now and again Boden scattered some stardust to lighten the darkness.
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His fervent singing carried authority, and it was backed by three versatile instrumentalists in Sam Sweeney, Paul Sartin and Rob Harbron, together with the nimble double bassist Rick Foot. Not to mention a wax cylinder player named Ethel (whose travelling partner Eric was indisposed on the night).
The musical textures and timbres were ever changing. Sartin blew a luscious oboe. Harbron squeezed delightful airs from his concertina. Bach loving Mr Sweeney ranged from fiddle to drums and tuned glasses.
Boden's enterprise seems boundless – next month he embarks on a different tour – and a splendidly lit show was followed by a singalong at the bar.