A year in the life…day 286: Billy Bragg


Very excited to see Billy Bragg again – I think the third time in a twenty year period. It was just him and a guitar and he probably talked more than played, but that was totally OK as he is interesting and passionate and thoughtful and still idealistic. The first half of the show he played Mermaid Avenue songs and talked about Woody Guthrie – his story about the Woody Guthrie festival he played was very entertaining (pays to know all the verses of This Land, apparently). In the second half it was standard Billy Bragg, including many favourites such as Levi Stubbs Tears and a reworked version of The Great Leap Forward. While I do perhaps suffer from cynicism about the union movement (and the actions of many unions in Australia of late have not helped this at all), There is Power in a Union is still a great song. And he kept my favourite to last, but there is no better way to finish that A New England. A funny crowd though – largely my age or older and many still dressed in their public service upper middle management wear. I even saw someone in stilettos – which just seemed completely wrong. And the Canberra Theatre is not the best location – one would prefer to be standing somewhere clutching a beer. Nonethless, any Billy Bragg event is an event not to be missed.

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