Blair Dunlop, Cecil Sharp House, London: 31st May 2014

(Originally published for Latitude Lookout)


After winning the Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Blair Dunlop’s current tour is in support of the recently released House of Jacks. House of Jacks is Blair Dunlop’s sophomore album and the follow up to his critically acclaimed Bright and Blossom. Dunlop returned to a chilled, multi-generational audience at the historic folk venue Cecil Sharp House hidden down the back streets of Camden Town.

In black skinny jeans and a denim jacket, Dunlop looked comfortable centre stage surrounded by his backing band. The spotlight encompassed the stage showing the audience that although this is Blair Dunlop show, the band is just as important.

Dunlop mostly played tracks from the new record including the thumping ‘Something’s Gonna Give Way’ and titular track ‘House of Jacks’, changing the sequence to include songs from his debut. The set was mostly played with a band with an acoustic interlude including a cover of his father, Ashley Hutchings’ ‘Song of Two Bridges’ and even an instrumental interlude of Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan’s ‘Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór’.

The mesmerised audience called Dunlop back for two encores including a guitar only cover of John Meyer’s ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ with opening act, smoky-voiced, Luke Jackson. The two crooned over skilled, silky riffs and melodies as though they have been playing together for years.

Blair Dunlop’s music is timeless, his live performance only strengthens the recorded material meanwhile showcasing his cool voice and strong guitar chops