Concert Review: Billy Bragg, The Phoenix, Nov 17th, 2009

Concert attended and reviewed by Karen

I ‘ve never been to a Billy Bragg concert before. In fact I couldn’t name you one song that he sings. My best friend Louise however has been a huge Billy fan for a very long time and has seen him six times so I went along with her to check him out. Oh I should let you know she’s from Leeds. Billy’s from Essex. This means nothing.

Turns out Billy Bragg is pretty amazing and pretty effing funny! It was just him alone onstage with his guitar. It takes a lot of stage presence and charm to hold an audience’s attention for ….get this…..2 ½ hours!!! All on your own. But he did. He joked with the audience and told us stories and played kick ass songs. Most of which reflected Billy’s social conscience and his desire for people to tune in, keep faith and join together in a battle against world cynicism.

Throughout his set he drank tea…..adorable.

My favourite anecdote was about him being in St. John’s and hearing that Margaret Thatcher had died and he was pissed because if he was back in England he’d be dancing in the streets and celebrating with the rest of the working class…….then he found out that the Margaret Thatcher that died was a dog…..he said he felt more sympathy for the dog.

Billy’s Set List
The World Turned Upside Down
Accident Waiting to Happen
Cindy of a Thousand Lives
The Warmest Room
Mr. Love & Justice
A Lover Sings
Ingrid Bergman (Cover of a Woody Guthrie song)
Ain’t Nobody that Can Sing Like Me
I Ain’t Got No Home in this World No More (Reuben Jones cover)
No Power without Accountability
Evidently Chicken Town ( A John Cooper Clarke cover in the style of Bob Dylan)
Freedom When Liberties are Taken in Thy Name. (The intro to this song was criticism aimed at our politicians for allowing Omar Khadr to rot in Guantanamo. The crowd went wild.)
Levi Stubb’s Tears
The Saturday Boy
All you Fascists
I keep Faith
Power in A Union
Encore: Milkman of Human Kindness
Then he played about a million other songs from his first album but by this point I had been standing for four hours and didn’t care. Ended with A New England, a crowd favourite and a sing along ensued.

Then Billy Bragg tea bagged the audience. Yes that’s what I said. He tea bagged the audience. He took the bag out of his tea and tossed it into the crowd.
Well done Billy! Add one more fan to your list. My Favourite song of the night? Billy Does a cover of a John Cooper Clarke poem in the the style of Bob Dylan. Here is the John Cooper Clarke version:

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything

About Wade

Transplanted east coaster now in Toronto. Lover of Canadian music and comedy

One Response to Concert Review: Billy Bragg, The Phoenix, Nov 17th, 2009

  1. Allison

    According to Alan Cross, Billy’s life-partner/wife/whatever is a crop circle scientist. I would say that ups his cool factor by about 1,000%.

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