Rich Hall’s Hoe Down @ Stourbridge Town Hall – 19 May 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Friday May 19, 2017 Under Comedy

Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown

“Yeeey-haaaa!” Well kind of. It’s a Friday evening and we’re well up for laughter and fun as we head to Stourbridge Town Hall for a bit of a ‘Hoe Down’. A small town in the back of the Black Country is not the first place you would think of for such an event, but it is now what you would necessarily expect with the straight talking, acerbic and grouchy American from Montana, Rich Hall is here for our delectation.

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Stourbridge is a busy place tonight, and tonight’s gig is sold out. And also sneaking in to take a peak at tonights show amongst the 450 punters, is a rock god who happened to be on stage with Paul Rodgers a couple of night’s ago. Some bloke called Robert Plant (to which Hall is quite flattered after the gig, as repeated punters tell him who he’s been watched by, as he signs CDs and stuff. Meanwhile back to the start of the evening – “Good evening…” comes the announcement. ” To the architecturally superb [sic] Town Hall in Stourbridge, in this tropical weather [it’s pissing it down outside] – you’ve paid for seats – you’ll only need the edge of it…”

Hall takes to the stage, putting on the trademark Stetson. “It’s the dream of my lifetime to play Stourbridge Town Hall….” he says in deadpan American drawl – “Two empty seats? What – Better go and round up two crackheads…”  

America. Well if it was the butt of everyone’s jokes before, us Brits no longer need to laugh under our breath. As he gives us the American view on us Brits. Downtown Abbey is ALL true and reflective on the way we live. We eat horsemeat. We do, he observes, eat very sad meals for one. That may or may not contain horsemeat. And then we pop to IKEA to by furniture and buy meatballs. As you do. He’s watched ‘Jamestown’ (the new Sky 1 series), which clearly is not based on fact. “You build a three-sided fort and keep out 75% of hostile Indians….”   Americans are not used to terror. Unlike the Brits. America goes around searching for shoes exploding.  While us Brits will talk – ala Question Time – the same program in the U.S. would stop after five minutes with someone pulling a gun. He loves the Brit mentality. Nothing is linear, it’s all a cryptic crossword. “Why is Northampton nowhere near Southampton?” His views on Trump well – er – are to be as expected. “We voted for a ‘f**wit…. as soon as I write a joke about something stupid he’s done, he does something stupider…”

The set is interjected with chats with audience members, who they are, are they married, where they come from. Explaining Brexit to Americans. The UK has left Europe? As in a country leaving a country. He watched the American elections over here – with Andrew Neil giving up on explaining the US electoral system – and the fact the the most amount of votes does not a President make. And Jeremy Vine  “Dancing on a lit-up map???” His neighbour in the States, invited him to go duck hunting – with his AK47 automatic assault rifle. “Just HOW MANY ducks was he planning to shoot? Was there a Canadian Geese invasion?”

He’s married, has a three year old son and a 12 year old daughter. Don’t ask him about Lego bricks. $50k later. Or the Isle of Wight or Whitehaven.

So break. And now it’s down to the Hoe Down as he’s joined on stage by Rob Childs and Mark Hewitt – musicians on a budget, drums and guitar – the bass player is stuck in Germany. He loves the “reaction to something rather than a specific, custom-made song that engages people. The magic is more important than the material. People really respond to that.” Most country music is s**t he proclaims. But he’s gonna give us his Hoe Down –  a song (improv) for Rob, a business analyst in the audience. Trucking songs. We’re not known for our trucking songs – but in America – well truckers are heroes. So here’s one about a trucker coming from Calais called ‘Eritrean Trucking Buddy.’ The chorus, we sing “It’s a f***ed up world”“you’ll be singing that all the way home……”

A parody of ‘Leaving for Georgia’ features all the local landmarks, roads and road works. Google Earth, he tells us, is useful; during the break. A song about a Jukeboxes, or the newfangled digital version that will play any song in the world. And a song that will… “kick the f*** out of any other dog” – ‘The Border Collie Song.’  Kevin (audience member) is now gonna sing to Lynn – a romantic song.  Kevin is an accountant. And he’s gonna sing the chorus. “Fur on a stick”. “Sing what?” Kevin’s confused – Hall explains –  and we’re off on a song about greyhounds. Fair play to Kevin – his timing is impeccable, and once more tonight, we are all in stitches as we laugh so much.

Bob Dylan. Who kinda sucks. That’s Hall’s ‘mild’ take on his thoughts on said songwriting legend. End of set or nearly, they are back – with a quick prompt and show that he’ll be signing CD’s afterwards. And a romantic ditty to Roy and Sarah and their Daewoo…..

Rich Hall is quite frankly, hilarious. He will have you in stitches and crying on the edge of your seats. He’s out and about touring and for a couple of tenners, you could do far worse on a night. Go and see.

What does Hall love about touring. “I’m not a big showbiz hound,” he muses, “but for me being on stage is the most satisfying thing imaginable.”


Dudley Borough Halls are renamed and rebranded – covering Dudley Stourbridge and Halesowen, look out for some great upcoming gigs – including Gary Delaney, Milton Jones, Matt Forde, Lee Nelson, Jethro, Jason Manford and the award winning David Baddiel – My Family: Not The Sitcom. Find out more by visiting boroughhalls.co.uk and keep up on the latest news on social media – follow them on Facebook and Twitter @boroughhalls.

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