As one half of modern folk gods Show Of Hands, Knightley has sold out the Albert Hall three times, so the humble Cellars was a touch more intimate.
But Knightley is an old pro at this game, and quickly had the packed pub eating out of his hands. From the a capella sea shanty he opened with, to crowd singalongs for a song about the inventor of a maritime chronometer, poachers, and the beautiful, but as he puts it, ‘downright miserable’, Hook Of Love, he’s in fine voice.
Foregoing the traditional support/headliner format, special guest Jim Causley was introduced as a ‘bright new talent’ and the Devonian was brought on to perform alongside Knightley, before playing a few solo numbers. With his rich voice augmented by his squeezebox playing, the 30-year-old brought fresh life to ancient songs.
However, things do not always stick to the folk canon, as Knightley acknowledged with a languid cover of Don Henley’s Girls Of Summer. And he later melded Springsteen’s Downbound Train with Show Of Hands’ own Country Life.
Of course, he couldn’t get away without a few of his regular group’s songs, and the banker-skewering title track of their last album Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed won the biggest cheer of the night. On Sunday Show Of Hands will be playing the song live on the Andrew Marr Show – don’t miss it.