Review: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – 14th August, Edinburgh Summer Sessions

Rag n Bone man played at the Ross Bandstand. Picture: Contributed
Rag n Bone man played at the Ross Bandstand. Picture: Contributed
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Chris Mackinnon heads to Edinburgh Summer Sessions and enjoys an evening with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.

5 out of 7 stars

After the superb weather that graced last week’s two Summer Session gigs in the gardens, a more traditional overcast sky greeted Rag ‘n’ Bone Man (aka Rory Graham) on Tuesday night, but the guy with more tattoos than Edinburgh in August was never going to let that dampen the mood.

Ably supported by Motherwell’s La Fontaines and Brighton’s Grace Carter, the Uckfield baritone and his touring band play a varied set, not relying too heavily on last year’s multi-platinum Humans but the album is well represented.

That said, after a wee musical intro to warm up, he kicks off properly with the title track from the Wolves EP (he loves an EP this boy, five and counting). A song itself about keeping the beasts from the door, something I suspect he’s doing quite well these days. He’d be the first to admit that his music is not material that you can easily rock out to but on the track Fire, his guitarist has a good crack at it. Another earlier track, Lay My Body Down is introduced as a “miserable song” but, he quietly concedes, they’re all miserable really.

Before introducing Grace, he asks the crowd if there’s any one named that out front. A few squeals of delight from various pockets and he rather sweetly dedicated it to them all. A glorious moment was Skin, the main man allowing the audience to take over on the chorus. He’s known for his bass-baritone voice but on this track he goes pretty high. Great song and great version.

A change of tack with a “happy song” in As You Are and then in to the track that made his name. Human is a belter and his tighter than tight backing band and brass section throw everything at it and Rory even goes a bit off-piste with an extended rap.

Continuing to exercise the vocal chords, he performs a short a capella piece and then begins to close proceedings with Bitter End and then before the last track asks if he “can get a hell yeah!”. Yes he can. And so did we, the song that is.

He played at the Hogmanay celebrations back in the winter and I suspect this crowd were a little less rambunctious and he was the epitome of politeness himself, constantly asking if we’re all having a good time, and on the evidence I think the answer was a resounding yes.

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