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Billy Bragg's Back!

Sunday 6 January 2008

Billy Bragg is back! Ahead of his appearance at this year’s Big Day Out festival, he’s taking some time to tour parts of New Zealand, for you.

You can catch Billy at Leigh, and Wellington prior to his appearance at Mt Smart Stadium.

Billy’s a well recognised activist over in the UK and the political slant on his songs has meant he’s managed to break through into markets he’d never normally have conquered.

But live, he’s still a force to be reckoned with, even as he enters his 50th year.

Billy Bragg was born in December 1957. He was 19-years-old when punk made its indelible contribution to English popular culture, in 1977.

Bragg’s own particular contribution was to form a band called Riff Raff, who released a series of indie seven-inch singles including the wonderfully titled I Wanna Be a Cosmonaut.

True cultural significance, however, was to escape Riff Raff, who eventually split in 1981. Perhaps remarkably, given Bragg’s punk antecedents, he briefly joined a tank regiment of the British Army before buying his way out with what he later described as the most wisely spent £175 of his life.

Between time working in a record store, and absorbing his new-found love of blues and politically-inspired folk music, Bragg launched himself on a solo musical career. Armed with a guitar, amplifier and voice, he undertook a maverick tour of the concert halls and clubs of Britain, ready at a moment’s notice to fill in as support for almost any act. His songs were full of passion, anger and wit, a ‘one man Clash’. This was not, however, what the major record companies wanted at the time – the punk attitudes of the late-Seventies had long since given way to the escapist rise of the New Romantics .

And since then, he’s been doing similar, although his music – and sometimes, his views – have got infinitely stronger – make sure you get tickets for his more intimate warm up gigs, and also the Big Day Out – you won’t be disappointed!