Search This Blog

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Gigs – Ray Lamontagne at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Star rating – 9/10

Ray Lamontagne is famously shy on stage, and so was true to form tonight. But honestly, who needs spoken words when he sings so beautifully, and with searing honesty, about his passions and pain (but mostly his pain). His set tonight opened with ‘Empty’, one of the strongest tracks from his second and arguably his best album, ‘When the Sun Turns Black’, and he worked his way through highlights from all three albums.

There was a moment of bizarreness when a woman jumped onto the stage in a very short dress, and was quickly escorted off it. When an audience member asked him if he had enjoyed that, Ray answered ‘Not particularly no’ – which I thought was a fair enough reply under the circumstances. He did helpfully inform us that ‘Hey Me, Hey Mamma’ was about Nebraska. As he said, we would not have known that ‘from the melody, the lyrics or the title’ so he thought he would tell us. Again, fair enough.

I am quite happy for him to let his wonderful singing voice and powerful and soul stripped bare lyrics do the talking for him. And as usual he was generous and supportive to his two support acts Ethan Johns (the producer of all his albums); and the very promising Josh Ritter; who both joined him on ‘Hey Me, Hey Mamma’.

He did some of more rocky numbers, such as ‘Three More Days’ and ‘Meg White’, but it his soulful ballads that shine out. We were treated to ‘Trouble’, ‘Shelter’, ‘Hold Me in Your Arms’, and ‘Let it be Me’ to name but a few. He finished his encore with a beautiful rendition of the haunting and wonderful ‘Jolene’. He still may not know what love means but he sure can sing about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment