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GIG REVIEW: COS - RT at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London (2/25)
2/26/2013 (updated 2/26/2013)

Live Review: Richard Thompson at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London (2/25)

You might not instantly label much of what Thompson played, folk music, yet it is inherent in almost everything he does. The rhythms and cadence of traditional music can be heard in Thompson's own songs and the affection the artist has for the genre is clear in his fond put-downs between cuts. His is a mature audience, most I am sure steeped in folk music, though Thompson can't resist an affectionate swipe: "I love seeing old people standing up" he quipped in reference to the Empire's ground floor while lightly mocking the richer folk in the balconies.

Musically, the success of the evening was that with solos long enough to engross but not to outstay their welcome, Thompson never strayed across the line marked indulgence. His range of styles - from blues to folk-rock, jazz to country - kept the set fresh and engaging. From the complexities of 9/8 time in "Sidney Wells" to the country twang of "Wall Of Death", Thompson mixed things up to great effect.

Returning to the stage twice for encores, the trio tackled Hendrix' "Hey Joe" with playful affection while enticing mass crowd-singing during the punkish "Little Sally Racket". Finally Thompson shared the love with his family, dueting with daughter, Kami, on "A Heart Needs A Home". Joking that "nepotism gets you everywhere", he added grandson Zak Hobbs and daughter-in-law Paulina Lis to turn the bitter-sweet "Tear Stained Letter" into a celebratory workout.

Tony Hardy, COS

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