Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott review: Sophisticated sounds light up Thetford Forest

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Thetford Forest. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Thetford Forest. Picture: RUSSELL COOK - Credit: RUSSELL COOK

It was a bit damp and a tad chilly in Thetford forest but there was plenty of warmth and good vibes coming from the stage in the clearing.

It was the third concert of four consecutive nights of gigs as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series.

Thousands came along with their picnic hampers and chairs to listen to the cool sophisticated vocals and music of Paul Heaton and Jackqui Abbott on Saturday.

Their seven-piece band augmented the duo wonderfully well, with their tight rhythms and melodies during their 90-minute set.

Heaton and Abbott didn’t disappoint their legion of fans with numbers stretching back to The Housemartins and a string of Beautiful South hits including I’ll Sail This Ship Alone, Old Red Eyes Is Back, Don’t Marry Her and Rotterdam.

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There was also more recent material from the duo featuring DIY and I Gotta Praise.

Heaton is one of the UK’s most successful songwriters with some 10million album sales under his belt and first came to public attention in the early 1980s as front-man of Hull-based indie poppers The Housemartins.

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In 1988 he formed The Beautiful South, who released 10 hugely successful albums.

Abbott was lead vocalist from 1994 to 2000 and she recreated many of their signature hits.

Billy Bragg, long-time friend of the duo and the band, gave a typical no holds barred 60-minute warm up act which ranged from Donald Trump to Jeremy Corbyn and plastic waste to equal pay.

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