On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of seeing Rag’n’Bone Man who has propelled himself from opening the main stage of Kendal Calling to the top of the charts and headline shows in sell out venues. Manchester Academy was packed out in anticipation for the Sussex singer to step out onto stage. He came out bang on time with just a guitar and nothing else, not even a band, and launched straight into a cover of St. James Infirmary Blues by the wonderful Louis Armstrong.
After this glorious opener, he went straight into fan favourite Ego, at which point the band, kept behind a curtain, were revealed and the gig really got going. It felt like a really traditional concert with an incredible singer, very large band, and even backing singers to aid him along.
He smashed through his concise set showing a degree of effortlessness which is both surprising and impressive in relation to someone which such incredible vocals. The only downfall was the lack of audience interaction however I feel this was to maintain the mood he had going on. Lay My Body Down was one of my favourite songs from the night, equally chilling and mesmerising.
He clearly wanted to let the music speak for itself and this had a profound effect. Chart toppers Skin and Human transformed the audience into a gospel choir singing back the songs they knew and adored. This was a performance which really provides a backbone to the phrase simple but effective, Rag’n’Bone Man knew his songs told the crowd everything they needed to know, and so he relied on them.
A voice that could silence the most rowdy of crowds and as gritty as it was relaxing, it is no wonder why Rag’n’bone man is such the success story he is.
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Review by Jack McCabe | @jmc2630