Muswell Hill Billy: Sweet Billy Pilgrim Live!

Good news! Sweet Billy Pilgrim are playing a six week residency at The Alexandra, Muswell Hill every Thursday night between now and 4th October.

Even better news! Entry is free!

Fresh from their headline performances with a six piece band at Bush Hall – and festival performances at Latitude and Oslo – Sweet Billy Pilgrim are experimenting with a three piece acoustic line up to great effect.

Quite why a band this good is playing shows without charging twenty quid at the door is one of life’s great mysteries, up there with the Marie Celeste and why men have nipples. I can only assume it is due to some strange administrative error or tax issue. Either way, I strongly suggest you check them out before they notice.

Last night’s acoustic set was sublime. It’s ridiculous how good this band is. In this latest guise, Sweet Billy Pilgrim feature guitarist Bish, who displayed some cool banjo picking in support of front man Tim Elsenberg and co-singer Jana Carpenter. The result was just beautiful. The band played a wider variety of material from their back catalogue than the recent Bush Hall gig, and whilst I missed the drums and full effect of the whole band, the acoustic set-up lends itself well to their songs. Think of it like a chilled out acoustic interlude in a Led Zeppelin show.

Jana Carpenter, Tim Elsenburg and Anthony “Bish” Bishop of Sweet Billy Pilgrim at The Alexandra on Thursday

The band played songs from all three albums including a first ever appearance for Crown and Treaty‘s Shadow Captain (which was lovely) and deep cuts such as Stars Spill Out Of Cups and In The Water I Am Beautiful from first album We Just Did What Happened And No-one Came. Expect the band to play a variety of songs in each of their six shows.

The Alexandra pub is in Muswell Hill, North London, directly opposite the Clissold Arms, which is where original Muswell Hill-billies – The Kinks – first performed. Hallowed Ground. Indeed The Alexandra is just twenty yards from 6 Denmark Terrace – the house Ray and Dave Davies grew up in. According to legend, the Davies family used to spend every New Year at the Alexandra.

6 Denmark Terrace, Muswell Hill: Childhood home of Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks

But Sweet Billy Pilgrim are writing their own piece of North London rock history with their art-rock blend of Elbow-meets-Radiohead-meets-Plant/ Krauss.

Thursdays can be rubbish. They’re the poor man’s Friday in many ways. The best they can claim is to be better than Wednesday. Which isn’t saying much. Wednesday is just a poor man’s Thursday. You have a chance to improve your Thursday nights, thanks to Sweet Billy Pilgrim. So don’t be a Silly Billy – go on a Sweet Pilgrim-age to Muswell Hill and see what all the fuss is about (see what I did there?). If the five-star review of Crown and Treaty in Mojo magazine is anything to go by, you’ll never get a better chance to see this band in such an intimate setting.

Record #86: Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Shadow Captain

Sweet Billy Pilgrim are supporting The Futureheads at Shepherds Bush Empire on 19th September.

A Free Download of album track Blakefield Gold is available from their website:






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