The Lock In
24 February 2013
SAMPLE: The Lock In promotional video.
We saw Bellowhead last week, winners of BBC2’s best live act five times. The year they didn’t win, it was won by The Demon Barbers, around whom this astonishing show is based. The Demon Barbers had the concept of adding dancers and it grew.
Yes, the quotes say “best thing I’ve seen in years” and for an entertaining musical, dance, theatrical, comedy evening, this one ticks every box with the highest score. Like it says on the poster, it is the UK’s No 1 folk and hip hop dance extravaganza indeed. I’d go again tomorrow, and the day after too.
The most exciting thing is that with just under twenty people in action (I think it was seventeen) everyone integrates into everything else. The Demon Barbers are a great electric folk band, but the bass player joins in the sword dance, Damian Barber joins in the acrobatic dancing, the fiddle player lines up with the clog dancers, the melodeon player joins morris and sword dancing, the drummer is the comic landlady, so dances, but also plays bass while the bass player is sword dancing. It’s a mind-boggling interweaving. The dancers join in the singing. Grace Savage as the vocal beatbox backs the hip hop. Then everyone is acting in the background all the time, be they dancers or musicians or both.Drummer Ben Griffith, as Jasmine the bearded pub landlady, has routines superior to most pantomime dames.
The concept is that three hip hop dancers escape into an empty pub, rub a magic pewter beer tankard, and are joined by morris dancers, local lasses (the clog dancers), the band and mayhem breaks loose. Rhythmic and melodic mayhem.
Add that before it all begins, folk singer Eddy O’Dwyer does a three song solo support act . Was it a marvellous evening of folk? Or a great demonstration of hip hop and break dancing to beatbox and percussion? Was it comedy with a touch of pantomime? Was it clog and tap dancing to rival Riverdance? It was all of them. Should it be under stage or concerts?
It’s a pity more people can’t see it, as I can’t imagine anyone not being taken up and enthralled and thoroughly entertained. Is this the first review where I haven’t found a tiniest finicky negative? I think it must be. I came home with a DVD, and CDs from The Demon Barbers and Eddy O’Dwyer. Oh, and an informative colourful programme with no adverts in it.
Bellowhead, then The Winter’s Tale at Stratford with morris dancing. Then this. Oh, and for thirty minutes before this show started we were entertained in the lobby by four local Dorset Morris, Clog and Country Dance teams with live music. The revival of English folk recently is gathering momentum. Some of these bands are ten years in, but public perception is widening fast. I wonder if all the regionalism in the UK and in Europe is making people focus on Englishness? I wouldn’t have believed a couple of years ago that melodeon, accordion, concertina and fiddle would be central to the music I’m listening to now.
EMBARRASSING MOMENT …
I switched my I-phone to mute. As Eddy O’Dwyer walked up and spoke into his mic, music suddenly crackled out of a phone. It was mine and loose in a folded overcoat pocket, not in a position where it could get inadvertently switched. I apologized in the interval at the concession stand, and he hadn’t heard it, but said he wasn’t using a radio mic. However, the main show had a lot of radio mics, and I suspect that as the sound was put up for the PA they came on, and activated iTunes on my phone. Even odder is though I have a few songs on my phone, I haven’t listened to music on it for a couple of years. LESSON … OFF, not mute, ever after. But how random is that? I’ve never heard it happen before in a show.