Jon Boden walks on stage to warm applause from the half full Corby Cube theatre and launches into a series of traditional songs, ballads and shanties. Some are familiar from his time with Bellowhead, others less so. The stage is full of instruments, guitars, fiddles, concertinas, amplifiers and Boden himself and he works his way through the instruments as he moves from song to song. He announces it’s his first time in Corby and he starts to build a rapport with the audience by establishing the closest thing Corby has to an 18th Century gin palace is the local Wetherspoons.
The middle of the show is taken up by Boden premiering his new album Afterglow. The album is a folk opera, set in a post apocalyptic, distopian wasteland. It tells the story of two lovers thrown together, during a cultural festival in an abandoned city,and then left to drift apart as the festivities die down. The concept is gradually introduced and explained as he tunes up between each song. Boden’s seemingly bleak vision the future is actually one of optimism. He sees society rediscovering lost values of community and a rekindling of folk music and dance. This positive view is bourne out in the upbeat nature of many of the songs, however there are also darker moments too, which lend as much to punk rock as they do to Boden’s folky core.
Leaving Afterglow behind the set returns to more familiar pastures and by this stage Boden is in full flow. With great renditions of Roll the Woodpile Down and New York Girls a particular highlight.