Dec 2008

Billy Bragg Live in Dublin

I don’t want this place to become just a collection of YouTube clips, but I’ve not got much time right now and wanted to say a little bit about the gig last night… this is better than nothing I guess. We went to see Billy Bragg at Vicar Street and, as ever, he raised the roof. A thousand people singing There is Power in a Union is a wonderful thing to hear. I ended up describing him to someone today as “like an English Christy Moore”. I hope Billy would take that as the powerful compliment I mean it as (even if, strictly speaking, Bragg has his roots in punk while Moore is a folkie).

Anyways, the gig was great. The pissed bloke, not far from where myself and Citizen S were sitting, who insisted on trying to shout over the top of Billy’s between-song-monologues got beyond a joke at one point and I came close to tracking him down and offering to pay him to leave. Not that I had the money, not that he’d have left, and not that he’d have stopped shouting, but maybe — just maybe — when he awoke hungover the next day he might recall my offer and be shamed into resolving to shut the fuck up next time!

But yeah, Billy was a star. Like he always is. And support was provided by US singer-songwriter, Otis Gibbs, who was worth the ticket price alone (not that I judge an artist’s worth by how much you’d pay to see him, but you know what I’m saying).

Like any great artist who has been around a while, Billy didn’t play half the stuff I’d have liked him to play. But, then, he could have played for another couple of hours and still not played half the stuff I wanted to hear. Which is OK. When what you do get is so wonderful, it’s only an arsehole who complains. Also, as is often the case with me, my favourite album by a singer is one that other fans don’t rave about so much. So I suspect even if he had played for another couple of hours, we still wouldn’t have heard much from William Bloke.

He was as strident, as righteous and as inspiring as ever. Although having said that, the lovely Citizen S did point out afterwards that, having grown up in a communist regime, it’s a little strange for her to hear songs that idealise and romanticise unions and workers and socialism to quite that extent.

Don’t get me wrong, she enjoyed the gig and sees the worth in the songs and ideas but I guess those words are bound to have a different resonance for her. That’s one of the (many) things I like about Citizen S… I get to see the world from a different perspective when we’re together. A good thing. We’re neither of us big fans of capitalism, though. So not too different a perspective!

Hopefully next time we go see Billy play he’ll dust off a couple of tracks from William Bloke. Maybe The Space Race Is Over and From Red to Blue? Just thought I’d put that idea out there in case he googles himself one day and reads this page…

But yeah, one song he did play last night (how could he not?) was Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards. And, as the song says… if you’ve got a website, I want to be on it…

Billy Bragg | Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

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