Ran n Bone Man @ Manchester Academy – 22nd April 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Saturday Apr 22, 2017 Under Rap, Singer/Songwriter

Review and photography by Gaz Mather.

Born Rory Graham, Rag N Bone Man exploded onto the scene in 2016 with his single ‘Human’, which was only kept off the top spot of the UK charts by a brace of Ed Sheeran tunes. His rise from Sussex care worker to double Brit Award winning artist is testament to years of hard work and commitment, making and performing music from the age of 15 under various guises.

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His show tonight in Manchester was upgraded from The O2 Ritz just down the road, to a sold out 2,000+ capacity Academy 1, and seeing the queues all the way down Oxford Road itching to get to the front row confirms the impact Rory has made in this last year.

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Never judge a book by the cover we are told and this could be never more relevant  than when this huge bearded, tattoo-infested goliath opens his mouth and starts to sing.

Rory saunters onstage almost nonchalant and opens up with an almost effortless cover Louis Armstrong’s ‘St James Infirmary Blues’, just him and his guitar showcasing that gravelly, soulful, bluesy voice that he is now famed for.

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Cue the curtain drop to reveal his band and backing singer and any signs of nerves / shyness are quickly swept away as he soaks up the adoration that is greeted at the beginning and end of every track.

Rory references family throughout the whole show with tributes to his Grandma and his friend’s new born baby ‘Odetta’ whom the song was written for. His roots and humble beginnings feature heavily too “to be where you are you have to pay tribute to where you came from” as he belts out some of his early material.

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Requesting the lights on to see his audience he jokes “not all my songs are miserable as f***” as he gets the audience to chant out the lighting guy’s name.

‘As You Are’, ‘Lay My Body Down’ and ‘Skin’ are massive favourites and cue a sea of phones held aloft to capture the moment but the journey reaches it’s pinnacle when the now, almost iconic bass intro to ‘Human’ kicks in and sends the the Academy reeling.

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Finishing with an encore of ‘Bitter End’ and ‘Hell Yeah’, there is an honesty and humbleness about Rag N Bone Man that shines through the whole performance tonight and any sign of fame and fortune has yet to rear it’s ugly head.  There has been a buzz getting louder and louder this last 12 months for Rag N Bone Man and tonight the “buzz” came to Manchester and my ears have not stopped ringing!!

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