The theatre rapidly filled as the hour arrived for Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders to step on stage, with a smile and banter that a stand-up comedian would be delighted with he had the audience delighted with two simple numbers so relevant in Wales at the moment 3 our football score and 61 last week’s rugby tally. The structure of the show as the music unfolded was a walk through Andy’s experiences and songs imported to him since he first played the smaller stage downstairs in the ballroom in 1967; it was a musical autobiography that delighted the audience as we took the journey with him.
Opening with Tequila a Latin flavoured song from the late 1950’s got the show underway already many were regretting the seating we wanted to be dancing with Andy and his fabulous Low Riders, Dave Bronze, bass and vocals; Paul Beavis, drums and Nick Pentelow, saxes and clarinet. We were treated to some magnificent guitar work, not surprising from the man who fronted Amen Corner then went on to tour with Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and performing with artists that made modern popular music since the 1960’s.
Following on from this great opening number we had three songs that raised the temperature and excitement in the audience as he displayed the depth and breadth of styles he was going to play for us tonight Hymn 4 My Soul, I’ll Get You and Rocky Racoon. With his easy entertaining stories from his past experiences and the interaction with the Low Riders his connection with a home crowd was assured the man born in Ystrad Mynach and raised in Cardiff loved entertaining a Valley’s crowd out for fun on a Saturday night; the atmosphere was special as we all felt part of The Andy Fairweather Low family and story.
All too soon it seemed, the first set drew to a conclusion but after a short break we were back for more delights starting off solo with an acoustic guitar held together with gaffer tape and obviously cherished he opened with Reggae Tune, with the Low Riders back on stage La Booga Rooga the title track of the second album filled the rafters, full of booming drumming and saxophone this is a rhythmic bass line driven track with Andy’s distinctive vocals searing through, this certainly re-energised the audience. The swagger with the guitar has not diminished as he points it as a weapon skywards, into the audience and across the stage. An important piece of information was shared, Andy feels there is no place for Cinnamon in Welsh Cakes, this is the friendly conversation that made this the friendly concert.
We had a medley little teaser that showed Andy’s experiences in music Another Brick In The Wall/Layla/Here Comes The Sun there could have been more; like a music quiz. We heard Bend Me Shape Me, Wide Eyed and Legless and some Mississippi John Hurt style blues with gospel and Saxophone that New Orleans would have been proud off and the lovely sound of a pillar bass, and of course Gin House Blues.
What a rendition of Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup’s My Baby Left Me. Tonight we heard and saw and artist who found pure joy on being on stage with a classy battle between the guitar and saxophone the crescendo of sound swept across the theatre in a short instrumental. The battle was won by a combination of the music and the many memories he shared with us and the memories of many of the audience as he played the B sides we all remembered the anticipation of turning over a 45rpm single to listen to the other track.
Too soon he left the stage back with much shouting he was back for an encore, opening with Route 66 the first guitar solo he learnt and no surprises that the last song of the night was If Paradise Is Half As Nice, he left the audience very happy with the mix of his own and songs from Beatles, Lonnie Donegan Jimmy Read and more, quality music from class musicians.
If you get a chance go see Andy Fairweather Low and The Low Riders when he hits town, dos so you won’t be disappointed.