The Perfect Warm Up
Hard-Fi were promising big surprises for this, the second night of a five night run in London. One of two star guests on the night Billy Bragg wasn't one of them as he's opening for them throughout the Brixton residency.
The evening was kicked into action with a fantastic warm up from this legend of British music. There were questions in my mind as to exactly how Bragg would be received by the Hard-Fi massive and, aside from a few who looked a little unsure as to who this bloke with a guitar was, he was given a heroes welcome.
The crowd were treated to his usual mix of political messages, anti-racism is an issue at the forefront of his mind, topical football observations and the Billy Bragg version of a rousing sing-along.
If you've never seen Billy Bragg before, the most striking part about his live show is how he can hold a massive venue hooked just on the strength of his one man and a guitar performance. In fact it was clear he was loving being in front of a packed Brixton Academy, and rose to the occasion in true style.
This was a set that would have pleased the Bragg die-hards, as well as those who only know his famous tracks. 'Sexuality' and 'New England' were both played, the latter was the perfect way to warm the vocals chords of the fans ready for Hard-Fi later on, Bragg encouraging by asking them to "sing this one for Kirsty McColl".
He thanked Hard-Fi for inviting him to support them saying that it was preventing him from "sitting at home on his own wondering how a team could match the European champions for 120 minutes and still not win the FA Cup". He continued by telling any fans of smaller clubs that it is possible for them to come up from the lower leagues and match it with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
On that positive note, and with 'New England' now stuck in the brain of many for the rest of the evening, he retired in order to let the star turn take centre stage with their audience fired up and ready to rock!
As a support act Bragg is an inspired choice.