Richard Hawley

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:58 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Twas indeed a top night, but I'll tell you something about the front row of the Opera House - it's bloody freezing!

We were front row, dead centre (well, just left of centre), bang smack in front of the boss, and there was a draught blowing throughout. Brrr!

Sadly, it didn't prevent me from yawning my head off either (my excuse is that I'd been on the go since 5.30am - nothing to do with the music).

Despite being on the chilly side, it's a great venue, a perfect setting for Richard's music. A very attentive audience too, didn't hear any mid-song chatter.

The supports were both good, Vincent Vincent especially. A true star in the making there. I'd only heard a few songs before. The only way I've been able to describe them so far is a skiffle-rockabilly Orange Juice with a bit of Dexy's and early (good) Adam & The Ants. Great stuff.

Highlight for me was probably Clive's cameo and watching Dean - he's a show all by himself! I'd forgotten that it was the last show of the tour, so there were lots of thanks to crew and band (the very warm Colin Eliot :wink: ). Richard was even looking a bit emotional at the end (overwhelmed? relieved? knackered?).

Hope everyone got home OK, the fog was attrocious!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:14 pm 
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I have now written a review of last night but it's very long, so I'm not going to post it on the forum. I have posted it as my latest blog on my myspace page for anybody who might be interested. It is very long though, so I don't blame you if you can't be arsed.

www.myspace.com/takemeanywhere36


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Last edited by john_quays on Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:07 pm 
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OK, you asked for it. Ta for the comments from those who have already read it.

Richard Hawley - Buxton Opera House 19 February 2008

In a couple of years, when every music magazine and internet site are announcing their 'best of the decade' lists, it will be interesting to see where Richard Hawley fits in. Certainly, his star has never been brighter, with a Brit nomination and a forthcoming concert in the expansive setting of the Royal Albert Hall, no less. Indeed, the live following has grown with the release of each new album since 2001's Late Night Final and the next long player would surely see him filling Roman amphitheatres, if such venues remained without decay. However, you get the feeling that the grounded Hawley would be none too impressed by such grand plans. He appears to be of a different era, when life was simpler and a bottle of Henderson’s Relish made a more than adequate Christmas present for a loved one.

It is perhaps fitting that Hawley brings his latest jaunt around the UK and Ireland to a close in Buxton, a town that also seems to have been suspended in a bygone age. Tonight’s venue lies just 35 miles from Hawley’s beloved Sheffield and there are clearly plenty of friends and family in the audience tonight. This gives the night a relaxed, end of term feel, not that the music suffers. The set is dominated by the last two albums, 2005's Mercury Music Prize nominated Coles Corner and last year's Lady's Bridge. Opening with recent single Valentine, the mood is quickly set and it is clearly going to be a memorable night. Keyboard player John Trier takes the spotlight for Roll River Roll, a song written about the Sheffield floods of 1864, merely months before the same city was last flooded in 2007.

Hawley introduces Just Like The Rain as “one I wrote when I was sixteen” and it is clear that he must have had an ear for a fine melody and an aching lyric from a very early age. He is also never short of something to say between songs but whatever he does say is delivered in a self-deprecating manner, befitting of somebody who is completely content with his life. The announcement that the video for Coles Corner was filmed outside tonight’s venue is delivered without any air of schmaltz and the song itself is simply breathtaking tonight. Lady's Bridge is dominated by a combination of Shez Sheridan’s lap steel guitar and Hawley’s gorgeous lament. The entire audience is transported down to the river before being brought back to the room, a Hotel Room to be precise. It’s actually a song about addiction but could easily be taken as an out and out love song. Certainly, many people in the room tonight take it as such as hands are held and loving looks are exchanged.

We are treated to some Rockabilly in the form of Serious (and later with I’m Looking For Someone To Find Me) but the centrepiece of the set comes, fittingly, exactly halfway through. Lady Solitude is the one song that receives no introduction from Hawley, although the guitar intro more than makes up for that. Has there ever been a more heartbreaking line than “think this morning will see us say our last goodbyes”? A reverential hush descends over the auditorium and you know that you are witnessing something truly magical. We get a yearning number written for Hawley’s wife (Our Darkness) and a song about regularly getting drunk (Born Under A Bad Sign) before we are finally treated to a tune from Late Night Final. It is to be hoped that Hawley’s more recent success will see more people checking out his earlier work. There are real diamonds to be found there, none more so than Something Is, which, in a stunning venue, simply stuns. The aforementioned rockabilly romp brings the main set to a frenetic close and rapturous applause from an appreciative audience.

Hawley returns sans band and introduces Manchester harmonica player Clive Mellor onto the stage for a stripped down cover of the Ricky Nelson song Lonesome Town. The band return and Mellor remains for Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, which has become a real live favourite and demonstrates yet again just how good the band are. Mellor departs with the acclaim ringing in his ears but we’re not done just yet. Oh My Love has been returned to the set on this tour and it is to be hoped that other songs from the Lowedges album are reprised in the future. Hawley’s voice is starting to strain by the perennial closer, The Ocean but he makes it through. The band gets the chance to really rock out and it makes the perfect closer to a perfect night.

So, will Richard Hawley end up as a best of the ‘noughties’ then? Maybe so, certainly if there’s any justice in the world. But you get the feeling that the man himself would have been happier to have been considered a contemporary of a different time, some fifty or so years ago.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:26 pm 
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Excellent stuff!
I'm going to cut n paste it to a word doc and keep it beside the 'Hawley Special'
hope you don't mind.
will be a great reminder of a fantastic gig in times to come
[even though mine were in Hull and York]
:thumright:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:30 pm 
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That's a lovely review! :D 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:14 pm 
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