Another night in the O2 ABC this time for Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire with Three Blind Wolves courtesy of Celtic Connections. After seeing some of Roddy and the band in the first week of the festival paying tribute to Levon Helm I was interested in seeing what these guys would be like with their own material as well as hearing what Glasgow band Three Blind Wolves had to offer.
The audience are mainly gathering in the fringes of the venue before Three Blind Wolves come on stage and begin their set performing such songs as ‘Parade’, ‘Tall Man Riding’, ‘Honey Fire’ and ‘Gold On The Cross’ to name a few. The band show their influences of Neil Young and Nirvana with the raw sound that they effortlessly exude offsetting this only with songs like ‘Farmer With A Pulse’ which brings a change of pace for the evening and garners them great applaud. Three Blind Wolves have managed to bring the audience from the bar and couches to the front the venue is now packed. Lead singer Ross Clarke stops to thank the audience and Celtic Connections for having them before they hit out with ‘Echo on the Night Train’ from there album ‘Sound of the Storm’. The band then decide to “turn the heat up” on what was a lukewarm crowd with ‘Emily Rose’ which has the crowd foot stomping and hand clapping which end in a great rock out from the band. As they tune up for their last number the band thank the crowd again before performing what will be their new single ‘In Here Somewhere’ which rounds of what was a terrific set, a band well worth investigating further.
A short time passes before Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire join us on stage to the cheers of the audience (and the screams of girls). The guitar wails and the band kick in and get the crowd going into a flurry of music that includes ‘My Greatest Success’ from his album ‘Bookmarks’ which has everyone’s cameras out the minute the lights are turned low and Roddy has plucked the first few chords. After a while Roddy eventually introduces himself claiming “thought we’d get the hits out the way” and thanks everyone for coming before playing a new song for us called ‘Queenstown’ swapping his acoustic guitar for a keyboard and the his drummer gives it full pelt the band are seemingly tight tonight and the crowd are loving every bit of it. After this he welcomes his brass section on stage after which he introduces us all to his guitarist as “sexy John” who Roddy credits with having a beard first out of all his band members. Next up is another song from ‘Bookmarks’ in the form of the upbeat ‘Flames’ which gets the audience moving. When the song ends and the crowd erupts when we are introduced to new band member Andy Lucas who helps Roddy perform a soulful cover of Randy Newman’s ‘Louisiana 1927′ with a little help also from his brass section. Roddy breaks again afterwards to tell us that he’s “been hiding behind Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty and Levon Helms this past year but he’s glad to be back performing new material” introducing his next song as he sits at the piano called ‘Forget Me Not’. I am new to Roddy’s music and I wasn’t the only one as the night progressed people chatting trying to pigeon hole the music they were listening to the favourite being “They sound a bit like The Killers” personally I couldn’t pin point the exact music being displayed tonight and didn’t care to as there was a full hints of Country, Indie, Rock and a little Soul all wrapped up in tonight’s setlist.
Next up is ‘Bad Blood’ which kicks off like a gunshot and has the band rocking and distorting their way through it sounding more grunge now, so there’s no pigeon holing these guys really. Calming the audience down as he graces his keyboard again is the sombre track ‘Boxes’ from his album ‘Road of Bones’ which he follows with the rousing ‘Merciful’ telling the audience that “this is a song about believing in something. A song about longing” before going into the songs haunting intro as the song builds to an awesome crescendo of guitar and drum with Roddy and his guitarist riffing off each other with audience at the front in particular jumping and cheering. After which he thanks everyone again for coming and listening to his new material “We have been away a while but hopefully we’ll be around more this year”. Roddy and The Lonesome Fire then play us their new single ‘Bright Light Fever’ which keeps the crowd jumping as they join in on singing duties when they can. The song ends in a massive rock out before the band take their bows and leave the stage but, not before long they come slinking back for the encore playing for us ‘Dead of The Night’ from his 2009 album ‘Sign Language’ before starting he does warn the audience “It’s not ‘Last Night’ by The Strokes but I maybe took my cue from it” as the drums begins to pound. Next we are treated to another new song called ‘Ghost of Love’ which although appears solemn has actually got great uplifting lyrics and tone. Using lights to make full use of the giant Disco ball above our heads the audience again join in when they can with Roddy cheering them on “Sing it like you mean it!” bringing an end to a great evening shining a spotlight on two brilliant Scottish acts.