Thursday, 15 March 2012

Life of Live - Boo Hewerdine

As I'd expected, I've ended up getting my Boo's mixed up ... easily done. This post should have happened before the last Boo Hewerdine life of live. It started off as one of the strangest and ended up one of the best times I'd seen him live.

I saw an advert for him playng live in Claygate in Q magazine which is about 20 mins away from where I live, so I rang up the number quoted to get tickets , expecting the usual ticket master type thing.

However, some awfully polite lady picked up the phone  in what was clearly her living room ( the tv in the background was on the same channel as mine giving a kind of twilight zone echo) after some confusion and apologies on my part, she confirmed that Boo Hewerdine was playing at the Claygate Folk Club. The lady seemed slightly puzzled and taken aback that she had had quite a few phone calls (obviously unaware of the ad in Q) saying that most club nights attract quite a small crowd.

On the night in question and after driving around in circles for 30 mins Judi and I finally pulled up outside what looked like a small scout hut / village hall. we wandered in and sat down in neat rows on the types of chairs that took us straight back to school.

A host appeared on the small stage and one by one a few guests popped up normally in thick jumpers and with beards (it was a living folk club cliche) and each played a traditional folk song or two.

Eventually an equally bemused Boo appeared. I've left it to his sleeve notes on the resulting live lp to explain

"on September21st 2001 I arrived at the Ram folk club Claygate. I was early and found myself alone in what appeared to be a scout hut. This was my first solo gig in years and my heart sank. Here came one of those what the hell an I doing moments. i had no idea if anyone would come or like what I did. By the end of the evening I was a very happy man. i had played pretty well, the room (hut) was full, the bookers couldn't have been kinder and the punters seemed to get it. This was a turning point for me. Re energised I have since written and made a new album (Anon) and cant wait to tour again." 

The concert was fantastic , at times it felt like it was in our own front room and that Boo was playing to just us two.On others he generated that corny community feel as we all laughed along to the stories and sang/clapped along to the songs.

It was until last summer still my wife's favourite gig (Take That stole the crown alas)

I've posted the version he played that night of his best know song, originally written for Eddi Reader

You can buy a recording of the gig called A Live One here


  1. Love your "campy" story! Funny how potential disasters can turn out to be fondest experiences, isn't it? Boo seems to be quite the character. When I read his blog I feel like an alien. His humour is way "out there"... Always loved his voice.

    About 10 years ago Martyn Joseph played his first gig in Toronto. We drove 30 miles through a blizzard, temps of -30'C to find this little folk club, which I swear had no bloody heat, we had our parkas on!
    After a terrifying cab ride from his hotel, MJ showed up to a crowd of 12 people... Talk about intimate and interactive! He played his heart out for 2 1/2 hours, moving us to tears with many a song. Told some hilarious stories, and lovely chats with us all during and after the show. Not often an artist gets to know the names of the entire audience! A charming, kind and talented Welshman is MJ.
    Springsteen '78 & '80 were amazing, but this one was unforgettable...

  2. wow Tim I can see why that would be special. Artists like that have turned gigs like that into a opportunity - you can now book them to play your front room - there was an good article in Word a while back focusing on Ian MacNabb

  3. Ian Mcnabb... you've got me yanking out his first 3 fine solo albums. ANOTHER incredible voice! Gosh does his cadence sound a lot like Boo? I lost track after Merseybeast.. did I miss anything worthwhile?
    Sheisse! I thought you were kidding, I just went to Youtube, first thing I punched was "Ian McNabb-Documentary" and there he is driving around the suburbs looking for a ladies house to play a living room gig, worried that it's not Annie from "Misery". Hilarious! Watch at...

  4. Thanksfor the link Tim - quite a few of those mid 80s solo singers do the living room concerts now!

    Hard to find but i think his best lp is Before all of This - it even had a single that I thikn threatened the charts!


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