Rock 'n Soul Blues

I came to the Green Stage feeling a thought Rag ‘n Bone Man could have done with a more tempestuous weather situation for his brand of music. The overcast sky was a bleak grey, the clouds a little too bright for atmospherics, the torrential rain yet to bathe us all. Still a young artist, one got the impression that his appearance at the Green Stage was a little ahead of Rag ‘n Bone Man’s fame in Japan – Brit Awards don’t count for much here, perhaps. Whilst the crowd at the front were enthusiastic, there were a number of folks who seemed nonplussed at his appearance, Luckily, by the end of the set, feelings ran somewhat differently.

With a voice that more than amply filled the natural amphitheater of the Green Stage, the baritone-voiced Brit’s sound more than made up for the early afternoon slot. With what felt like an upbeat start, the blues began to creep in and by “Hard Came The Rain” a moody guitar jangle added stormy overtones of its own to a bluesy rock ballad replete with crooning guitar solo. Such was the effect, that despite the distance, the show came with an intimacy reminiscent of somewhere smaller.

“Grace” signaled a move to the end, with its emotive lyrical narrative and soulful vocal climbs followed by a beautifull acappella version of “Skin”. It was UK chart-topper “Human” that is most memorable of those last songs, unfair to the final two tracks played, but testimony to the song’s power. As the opening chords blew through, was it the breeze or the voice that brought goosebumps to the skin on my arms? I’m going for the latter.

Japan has a taste for the blues, as evidenced by sold out shows from the Alabama Shakes last year, so it may well be we’ll see Rag ‘n Bone man again, hopefully somewhere a little more intimate; the Green Stage performance felt like just a taste of things to come.

 Photo by MASAHIRO SAITO  Text by Laura Cooper Posted on 2017.7.28 14:56