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Blog: Billy Bragg In Islington

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On Friday night last week I went to see Billy Bragg, an artiste whom I do not know much about, honest guv, who has had no influence wotever on my own stylings, no really, it is true.

Oh all right yes, he is probably second only to John Otway in the great list of Acts I Have Ripped Off Been Influenced By. I hadn't seen him for AGES though, so when Mr S Hewitt suggested going I jumped at the chance. It was originally meant to be happening at ULU, but then got moved to Islington Assembly Hall. We got emails from the promoters apologising for the fact that our tickets had been designated in the balcony upstairs, where ALAS we would have to SIT DOWN for the duration. DISASTER!

I met Steve beforehand in The Taproom just over the road from the venue. This was a Craft Beer Bar, in Islington, selling Vegan food and directly opposite a Billy Bragg gig, yet it was weirdly NOT full to the rafters with beards, radical bookshops or union convenors. What is the world coming to? It was still very nice though, and I had a LOVELY vegan pizza!

Eventually we wobbled over the road, arriving just in time to get a beer in and catch the last 30 seconds of the support band. Some skills never leave you! After an appropriate interlude Billy himself came on, and was GRATE. He was talking about the fact that he now has a Senior Citizen's Railcard, which seemed incredible because a) Billy Bragg is 27, everyone knows that and b) however old he is, he looks very good on it. The actual set had a surprisingly large amount of material from what I think of as his "middle period", around "William Bloke" and "Don't Try This At Home", which I guess in reality is more like his "really really early period", and was FAB. It was also rather wonderful to be able to sit down. The Assembly Hall was dead good, especially as we got seats on the end of a row with easy access to the bar, the loo, and, for certain members of our party (NB not me) a space to stand up and punch the air.

It was a lovely evening, I must learn more about this Bragg character!

posted 29/1/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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