Billy Bragg and Alun Parry

The Picket
Friday 22nd May 2009

Review and photograph by Sharon Latham

It's been a while since Billy Bragg played an intimate gig like this one at The Picket, but thanks to this bill put together by the Liverpool Working Class Music Festival for Writing on the Wall, Billy was back.

A master craftsmen at work, Billy kicked off with two old favourites in The World Turned Upside Down and To Have and Have Not.

Working the crowd with real comfort and charm, he was able to mix humour with political invective in between songs that switched from angry protest to poignant romantic melancholy in typical Bragg style.

He crowned a night that was a treat for the lover of political song, supported as he was by the billed “other rebels”.

Opening the night, Attila The Stockbroker was a rhyming fury of mischief and defiance.

His poem, Poison Pensioner, about his right wing auntie was hilarious. And the poem about New Brighton, delivered as it was by a poet from “old Brighton”, caused an amusingly defensive stir from a smattering of Wirralites.

David Rovics was more laid back in standard folky fashion, but was brimming with the same mischief. A song praising the pirates of Somalia was a classic demonstration of the power of song to reframe the world. His St Patrick's Battalion remains a masterpiece.

Liverpool's own Alun Parry gave the crowd a preview of some wonderful songs from his forthcoming We Can Make The World Stop album, with songs about the social power of the working class, and a wonderful tribute to John Lennon.

With Euro elections approaching and the threat of the BNP making serious gains, his pro immigration anthem I Want Rosa To Stay was particularly moving – a theme Billy himself was to return to shortly afterwards.

This event was inspiring, uplifting, informative, and packed with atmosphere and energy. With the Liverpool Working Class Music Festival happening for real in a few months time, this was a suitably enticing taster for September.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by Jeremy Hawthorn on 31st May, 2009 at 23:07
I thought these acts were in the wrong order. Billy Bragg is still suffering from having been rather too close to the Labour Party and there wasn't much new in his repertoire except for the piece written in Walton jail. David Rovics deserves a higher billing in future