Joshua Burnell – The Met, Bury – 11th November 2023
The rising stars that are the Joshua Burnell Band completed a hectic week’s touring when they paid a visit to The Box at the Bury’s Met. As their reputation grows they are building up an enthusiastic fan base.
With a large chunk of the audience being Cropredy conscripts and many references by Joshua to the summer experience the intimate Box at The Met was turned into a mini Oxfordshire field and the atmosphere and camaraderie was there too.
Tonight’s set was made up of a large measure of tracks from current album Glass Knight but there were healthy helpings of Joshua’s earlier material. His folky beginnings have developed into a proggier side of folk and we witnessed that development through his instrumentals and souped-up folk songs.
The vocals were mainly shared with Frances Sladen, who is also pursuing her own solo career. Despite initial glitches tech wizard , as well as guitar wizard, Nathan Greaves rescued the situation. With his nimble guitar work adding superbly to the heavier numbers he further enhanced the show by synchronising the coloured lanterns to the music which was so impressive Joshua stopped in awe with a few giggles!
Regular concert opener Where Planets Collide got us off to a stonking start then a long drone before the melody of Last Rain gave us a taste of earlier album music as did Le Fay with its Arthurian links. The more intimate surroundings gave Joshua the opportunity to embellish with anecdotes. The tale of the Saffron Walden basilisk and his homage to early mentor Tony for Some Things Aren’t Eroded held our attention.
A detour for a personal request for friend Vicky allowing us hear the enchanting Condor Keep was a nice touch both for Vicky and us. It came with a promise that it will be on the next album. Vocals again were shared on a murder ballad; Slow Burning Cigarette showing not only the close personal relationship between Joshua and Frances (although her sister says he has better hair!) as well as a musical one.
Clearly an avid Gabriel-era Genesis fan his keyboard work at times had touches of Moonlit Knight, Watcher Of The Skies and The Knife. Joshua is very adept at creating his own arrangements of well-known songs, his magic touch in an English version of Jacques Brel’s Port Of Amsterdam replicated the passion of the original.
Much to the joy of the Cropredy contingent remnants from that amazing set were included; Plain Tree And The Tenpenny Bit and Song For The Island.
Joshua, Frances and Nathan may get the greater profile on stage but there were super performances by Oliver Whitehouse on bass, Ed Simpson on drums and Kat Hurdley, on violin and backing vocals.
Making himself available at the tiny merch desk at the interval and after the two-song encore meant this was a busy night for him but the warm applause must have felt it was all worthwhile. Joshua and his band deserve every accolade they get from fans and music legends – Dave Pegg from Fairport Convention thinks they’re amazing!!
Categories: Live Reviews