REVIEW: Show Of Hands - Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Show Of Hands
Show Of Hands
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To a lot of people, folk music is as welcome in their lives as an intruder. Or serious illness. Or an intruder with a serious illness.

But to those who love this particular type of music – and there are many of us secretly lurking in the shadows who do – then it is bands like this that give the genre a good name.

Steve Knightley and Phil Beer met as teenagers in Devon, where they grew up.

Five decades on they are still performing, with the addition of Miranda Sykes on bass. The sound the trio produce when in full flight is fantastic, not least because they are all individually brilliant on the instruments they play.

Each artist played three songs solo in the first half. Knightley came on first, his voice wobbling a few times in the opening number (he explained he was suffering the after-effects of a nasty cold).

Beer was next, switching between guitar, banjo and violin (he also has a great voice – it’s enough to make you sick).

Then Sykes performed three songs of her own – just voice and double bass, an unusual but highly effective combination. Her final song Me And My Sister The Moon was fantastic.

After beer for the audience and no doubt a Lemsip for Knightley, the three joined forces in the second half and were pretty much flawless.

I’d never seen the band before but was very impressed.

Songs like Red Diesel, Cousin Jack and Country Life were rapturously received.

My personal favourite was The Napoli, a beautifully written and instantly catchy tune about a shipwreck.

I perhaps could have done without Knightley’s occasional spoken lyrical delivery and I wasn’t too keen on the way the song Katrina was performed – the instruments being used to create a storm-like sound that I didn’t think quite worked.

But it’s easy to see why the band are so popular. They have excellent songs, tell funny tales between tunes, and there’s no doubt I would pay to go and see them again.