Sometimes there are bands that feel so familiar to you that you forget that perhaps not everyone is on the same page. It made me realise that the world does need another Red Rum Club live review. To be honest though come the evening, my head space was not originally in the best place for thinking objectively about a Red Rum Club gig. My beloved couldn’t play out as she had a last minute work panic and had to zip off, my day hadn’t gone well either. It was quite the effort to shower, get ready, leave the warm cats and plod the 50 minutes into town to the Parish. The massive queue for the bar and the deliciously full venue for Red Rum Club only dented my mood further. In short, I wasn’t up for this at all. Not in the slightest. It was only the thought that last January there were no gigs anywhere that kept me in the place.
So why I am sharing the most boring and irrelevant ever first paragraph to a gig review? It’s to highlight what I describe as the “love in the room” at a gig, when it feels that everyone’s brains are wired together as one, and we are truly focused and engaged on the act in front of us. Never underestimate the power and strength of love in the room.
There aren’t too many acts that can achieve that sense of sole purpose at a gig; I can immediately think of Trampolene, Shame, early days Tom Grennan before the venues got too massive, and of course, Red Rum Club. I started the RRC gig happier having chatted with a few friends, and idly taking a few videos and photos of the band, by its end I was chanting and air punching with everyone else in the room. That’s what I call a positive mood swing, dear reader. I think I’ve seen the band perhaps 10 times over the past few years, so I should not have been surprised by the power of their live performance.
Red Rum Club have been treading the boards since 2016, and in that time the band have evolved their music through 3 studio albums. The first Matador was like an explosion of spaghetti western with guitars and trumpet, a wonderful burst of energy through the saloon doors. After that time the following two albums The Hollow of Humdrum and How To Steal The World have seen the band maturing and widening their sound while retaining much of that original spark and energy. It’s almost as if that wild west town has kept its edge and excitement but also gained the the convenience and comfort of a corner store Sainsburys.
It says something of the consistent high standard of all of the albums that the set tonight had four songs from Matador (Honey, TV Said So, Angeline, and Would You Rather Be Lonely), five from Hollow (Dorado, Ballerino, The Elevation, Eleanor, Kids Addicted) and six from the most recent album (Nightcalling, How To Steal The World, Monaco, Vibrate, Come Back Anna Marie, Love Me Like You Wanna Be Loved). As you can also tell from the setlist, tonight was killer no filler.
It’s not only because there are six in the band, but these guys completely fill the stage. Everyone plays a part be it lead singer Fran’s stretched wide arms that include the room while he exhorts you to join, or the beautiful sound of Joe’s Trumpet which can fill any hall, or the tight guitars of Tom and Michael and then the bass and drum glue of Simon and Neil. This is a band who sweat out their all in a performance. It’s truly hard to think of anyone better on the stage at present.
Musically this is music to move to; unfortunately my knees can’t take the mosh these days (nor the mosh my bulk), but there was plenty for folk to jig in the way their joints would allow. Elements of the set felt raw and fresh, others felt more like a polished kind of northern soul. To be honest, I defy anyone not to like Red Rum Club; the mystery is why perhaps the band are not filling bigger halls, although a bit selfishly, I like them being a secret to the select few.
After the gig, the band continued to work hard, selling some ace looking t-shirts and chatting to various folk in the bar downstairs. I don’t think anyone felt neglected by the night’s end. Red Rum Club are all about connection, all about good vibes.
Shake off those January blues by seeing if you can catch the guys at the end of their tour; there’s Colchester Coda on Monday, Nuneaton Fife Street on Tuesday, Grimsby Docks Academy on Wednesday, and then Dunfermiline PJ Molloys on Wednesday 2nd February.
* I fondly like to think that part of the charm of a fan write up are a few dodgy phone photos…. I know no one else would own up to them