Matt Schofield with Support from Ben Poole @ The Globe
Bobby Spencer, Hurricane Unleashed –
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.
Another packed house at St David’s Hall for the Man in The Hat, Paul Carrack accompanied by a 7-piece band including Sax; Guitar, Bass, Keys and a two drummers with different styles and sound that complemented each other. Tonight they delivered a selection of tracks from his long career from Mike & The Mechanics, The Squeeze and up to today with numbers from his latest album. Three numbers, three guitars and a broken string…then change tempo and Paul moved onto his electric piano but nothing broke the rhythm and quality of the music. Large percussion section of double set drum for this track 4 providing a delightful percussive back drop a real crowd pleaser. Back on guitar now re-strung we heard the equivalent of lead and rhythm guitar with the drums providing a solid curtain of percussion which was overlay-ed by mournful sax, and tinkling keys and soaring up this crescendo of sound was Paul’s vocals. Then a Squeeze number reminding us if we needed reminding what great songs they produced in their day. Throughout the set Paul demonstrated his versatility and skill where playing guitar, keys or the wonderful sounding electric piano all combined with his melodious vocals that served to emphasise and gave an emotional colour and depth to the words.
With some great covers weaved in to the mix including a Bobby Bland number, (If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right and as all his family are great fans a Brenda Lee number I’m Losing You Now re-done for Paul Carrack’s latest album, personally I preferred Brenda’s version.
Just as the audience were settling in their seats and getting comfortable Paul upped the tempo with some audience participation with some clapping this ensured engagement and livened the atmosphere and swiftly followed by a Bruce Springsteen number If I Should Fall Behind introduced by Paul as ‘a great ballad’. Guitar, vocals and very dylanesque harp by this charismatic front man who held the audience in the palm of his hand from the front row and high into the gallery at St David’s Hall.
The myriad of guitars used meant that there was a change in tone and an opportunity to see as well as hear part of the Paul Carrack collection.
As we were in Cardiff, Paul was then joined by local friend Andy FairWeather Low ‘Wide Eyed and Legless bringing the house down, with great guitar playing from Andy bringing that high-octane energy to the stage. By the end of the evening Paul had got the crowds to their feet dancing the night away and singing their socks off creating a great atmosphere. There is something energizing about an audience up out of their seats….the crowds loved it and felt part of the show. Andy rejoined for the encore with the classic Amen Corner number ‘Paradise’ another great night of entertainment at St David’s Hall.