REVIEW: Show of Hands at The New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

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The newly-refurbished New Theatre Royal was the perfect setting for the sometimes rousing, sometimes melancholy sound of Show of Hands. Performing as a trio, with Miranda Sykes on double bass, the evening comprised two sets.

The first set was devoted to the new album (out on January 15) and was well received despite the unfamiliarity of the material. It might have been a dangerous move but the quality of the songs was typically strong and title track The Long Way Home alongside Hallow’s Eve and The Old Lych Way seem destined to become fan favourites of the future.

Whilst Steve Knightley’s powerful voice means he takes lead vocal on most songs Phil Beer gets to cut loose on occasion and his vocal on ‘Twas On One April’s Morning was haunting.

The second half was packed with the sort of crowd pleasers lesser bands would kill for. From the, sadly still relevant, Arrogance Ignorance and Greed through to crowd pleasers like Roots and Country Life this set was a barnstormer.

The packed theatre were happy to join in with hypnotic Santiago and the stomping Galway Farmer and roared the band back for an encore, unsurprisingly Cousin Jack finished the show and the standing ovation was throroughly deserved.

This was my first Show of Hands gig but I promised Steve, as he signed my CD in the foyer afterward, that I would be back.