Seth Lakeman & Jackie Oates @ The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

3rd December 2011
Review & Photography by Martin Hobby

Some readers may be wondering why a folk artist is being reviewed in IV Ezine?
…I shall answer that very quickly by saying; without Folk music there would be no Punk Rock, no protest songs and no Emo(tional) music at all!
Check out the roots of any scene band and you will find links back to folk, rockabilly or country music. I hope to bring you more coverage of folk bands in the coming months, thanks to Brandywine Music for booking some of the best and biggest names in contemporary folfolk to play at the Orchard, Dartford.

This is venue not usually known for live music, and as such this was a seated show, with the ushers reminding people to stay in their chairs when a few people started dancing in the aisles during the main set of headliner Seth Lakeman, however I must complement the venue on the sound and lighting.

From a photographers point of view, the lighting was fantastic, and from a fans point of view the sound was awesome. Perfect. Every instrument crystal clear and defined.

You could have heard a pin drop during the quieter moments of opener Jackie Oates set as the audience sat spellbound, entranced by her vocals, accompanied by a selection of weird and wonderful instruments. The phrase “It’s the quiet ones you have to watch…” springs to mind, Jackie seems so innocent and pure until you realise she is singing such dark and twisted ballads of death and violence.

Seth Lakeman really does have something for everyone in his sound, with a crowd ranging from Rockabilly hotties to your grandparents, and every subgenre of music fan in between including a few local heroes from Intransient and Gunner Sgt in attendance.

Most of tonight’s set is made from Seth’s latest self released album “Tales from the barrel house” a cracking set of new tunes, not quite a rocking as some of his other stuff but certainly up there with his best in song craft.

I think as this was the first time most of the audience had heard these new songs it didn’t matter too much that it was a seated show, we could all just sit back relax and appreciated the musicianship on display, but by the time of main set closer, foot stomping, fiddletatsic “Kitty Jay” you could feel the tension in the air, like the build up to a tantric orgasm.
We wanted to dance.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for the encore, and this time there was nothing the ushers could do, the whole venue was on its feet, whooping and stamping along.
Finale, “Race to be King” was the best I’ve heard it! Seth even stuck around for a meet and great signing session.

This was the best night out I’ve had in Dartford for a long, long time!