Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at Horncastle Arena, Christchurch — concert review and photos

My sister, who is much taller, thinner, younger, hipper and more beautiful than am I* changed my life last night.

I was offered reviewer tickets to an act I’d never heard of. As she is the fount of all things modern and magnificent** I asked her if she had heard of Rag’n’Bone Man.

From under which rock hast thou crawled that thou hast never heard of him? she quoth, or words to that effect. And then proceeded to get out her fancy schmancy Spotify premium family edition and play me some very familiar music.

Oh that guy! Oh he’s great!

And so he really was.

Rbm (we’re on first acronym basis now) is a giant, physically and musically. He is to British music what Lorde is to ours. Except he’s not as good. Yet.

His voice is exceptional.

Pitch perfect, deep lush velvet with grit and grunt and passion and fire and sorrow and pain and I wanted it never to stop.

What he lacks at the moment is stage presence and the confidence to step out from his very good full backing band.

I wanted to hear him and that beautiful voice with white space around him. Less production. More pared back. He was cosseted in delicious musical chocolate for 90 percent of the show and while it was excellent it was so nearly but not quite exceptional.

RBM needs to take a big step up performance and production-wise to become a stadium act. He has the chops, no doubt about it. When he’s not overshdowed by the band he’s magnificent. Think Barry White, Joe Cocker, Leonard Cohen, Bonnie Rait, Andrew Strong, Adele, and that guy who sang It’s A Man’s World on American Idol and promptly vanished. Phenomenal. Not a rough diamond but a shy man who looks like he doesn’t quite believe just how good he is. And he is good. He’s very good. He’s very very very very good and if you have the chance to see him you get there. You get a ticket now. While they’re cheap because next time he’s here you won’t be paying 50 bucks. You’ll be paying Adele prices, or what my sister and I have paid to see Pink***. And you’ll do it gladly. RBM is the next big thing. GO TO THE SHOW tonight.  You’re welcome.

*Aynsley – consider this flattery your reward for introducing me to this astonishing artist.

**Aynsley – you now owe me as that was above and beyond the call.

***Aynsley – you so owe me for not disclosing that sum publicly!

Thanks to Sue Wells for covering Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s first NZ show, in Christchurch. Steve’s photos are from the last show of the tour, Spark Arena in Auckland on Friday 6th April. 


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