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Live review: Rag 'n' Bone Man @ Town Hall, Birmingham (07/02/18)

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After a summer full of festivals and being in the limelight, Rag 'n' Bone Man strips back his music in a one-off show, in the intimate Birmingham Town Hall of 600 people.

People came from all across the region to the 'invite-only' occassion, trudging through the freezing city to see Rag 'n' Bone Man perform on a Wednesday night. The whole event made everyone feel important, flashing their ID's and being ticked off of the 'list'.

The whole night was hauntingly beautiful. The venue reflected the performance and vice versa. After a short introduction by Absolute Radio, on-poured his live band, but not just a regular band of guitars and drums; a trumpeter, keyboardist and a female backing singer that added that extra funk and blues to his music.

Rag 'n' Bone Man aka Rory Graham, took to the stage opening with 'Wolves', a track from his earlier work that shouldn't be forgotten and overshadowed by Human. Throughout the night, Rory constantly checks his audience are ok and still with him on "a school night."

Three songs into his set, he apologises for slipping up during 'Ego', explaining that he's just recovered from a cold. "You don't want to hear my excuses" he adds before this inevitable response from the crowd: "YOU'RE ONLY HUMAN!" 

This lead to a look on Rory's face that can only mean "I should've know that was coming."

Rag 'n' Bone Man remains humble through this exclusive night, constantly giving anecdotes to his songs and responding to the audience's random injections between songs.

"This next song, I wrote with my friend, from Bastille. I had just finished reading a book about a murderer." 

"Hopefully, this one will cheer you up." He laughs at his own way with words before going into the next track.

The live band left the stage during 'Skin' leaving just Rag 'n' Bone Man and the keyboardist, turning the popular track in a more soulful and deep rendition of the single. There was no build up, just his voice echoing around the venue; the whole audience was silent and in awe of this stripped back performance of the well-known song.

Returning to the stage, the band broke out into an unfamiliar introduction that turns into 'Human', another slightly altered version of the track that earned him this well-deserved recognition. Rory mixed up the arrangement slightly making it so much more than what we all had expected.

"I've probably played all the songs you know now, but do you want to hear a couple more?" asks Rory, before the crowd go crazy for more. "Good, the next song is an old one that we reworked". 

The band and Rory went into 'Bitter End', a funky track that had everyone dancing; you could feel the energy around the venue hall.

The night came to an end with one last call of appreciation by Rag 'n' Bone Man. "Can I get a hell yeah?" yells Rory before diving right into the last track of the night, 'Hell Yeah'. Wrapping up the show with a throwback to his previous album, Wolves, he left everyone with huge smiles plastered to their faces as they exited the building, giggling and still buzzing from the exclusive night they had just been a part of.

The full radio broadcast will be aired on Thursday, 15th February at 7pm and available to watch on-demand on www.absoluteradio.co.uk

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