After a summer wowing fans at festivals across the UK, Seth Lakeman kicked off the first leg of his UK Winter tour in similar fashion, playing to a near-capacity crowd in the largest of the Junction's concert venues. And with a set-list which encompassed both stock favourites as well as seven new tracks, Seth made the most out of the recent addition to his band, Bellowhead's Benji Kirkpatrick.
So after a familiar start with 'The Hurlers' the evening offered plenty of variety for both first-timers and faithful fans alike. Of the new material, 'Changes' and 'The Watchman' seemed to be shared favourites of both the band and the audience. Bringing out their "sensitive side", 'Changes' added another string to Seth's proverbial musical bow - turning his violin on its side he plucked the strings as if he were playing a guitar.
'The Watchman,' however, offered the chance to marvel at the band's technical prowess, with the option of dancing along. So there was little surprise when Seth announced "we like that one" as the track drew to a close. Possibly the best known track of his whole repertoire, 'Kitty Jay', the tragic love story of a servant girl and her anonymous admirer, is always a crowd pleaser. And with a lighting display which ramped up the intensity of an extended opening sequence, the atmosphere was thick with anticipation by the time the spotlights came on.
It was clear from Seth's facial expressions that he was pushing himself to the limit, and yet he physically drove the pulse forward - his bow moving faster and faster until the final double stop, which resulted in the biggest roar from the crowd all evening.
Whilst the gig at the Junction marked the start of the UK Winter Tour, gigs in Wales and mainland Europe mean Seth Lakeman and his band have had little rest over the autumn. But watching the energy radiating off stage during their preferred set-closer 'Race to be King' it was impossible to tell. And with smiles all round one final flourish brought the evening to an energetic close.