Billy Bragg: Night Three at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea: 'After three great shows, this was perhaps the best'

Billy Bragg at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea. Picture by Paul Windsor
Billy Bragg at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea. Picture by Paul Windsor
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Billy Bragg’s third and final night of his residency at The Wedge ended on a high note.

While the previous night had seen The Bard of Barking finding his feet in some of the lesser played areas of his songbook, he confidently strolled through his set last night to great success.

Many of these songs may be less familiar to the casual listener, but as Bragg was for the most part preaching to the converted, the sold-out crowd sang along throughout. Tracks like She’s Got A New Spell, Little Time Bomb, and Tank Park Salute providing a real emotional backbone to the performance.

The stories of heartbreak which tied the songs together were peppered with good humour and political context, with a welcome outing for B-side Thatcherites for good measure.

Even when technical issues threatened to scupper the flow of the show Bragg confidently launched into an a capella performance, and while he dropped the occasional line throughout the night, the overall effect was far less fractured and more cohesive than the second night’s set.

It’s a compliment that after three great shows at the Wedge, this perhaps being the best, Bragg could easily have played additional nights without repeating himself.

It’s been a rare treat to watch an artist of such stature develop his set at the start of his tour and it feels like a well-deserved coup for the Wedge too.