Review: Finley Quaye / Burnside @ The Rainbow

Finley Quaye / Burnside
Birmingham Promoters
The Rainbow
20th February 2010

We arrive at The Rainbow and are instantly hit with the smell of polish and the sound of reggae. As we patiently wait for the highly talented opening act, Tempting Rosie, there are several whispers among the crowd that the band will not be serving up their well crafted ‘lively up yourself’, ska treats.

The whispers soon bare fruitful truth as Burnside make their way to the stage, luckily for us with Ewan and Laurence from Tempting Rosie, to boost and bulk up the sound with their penetrating brass stabs. Burnside do a fairly decent job, opening early to the growing, anticipating crowd, surfing through genres of funk, with fuzzy, wah, lead guitar, rock and roll rhythm and blues, with steady bass and beats. Together with the marriage of the Rosie horn section (minus Josh), Burnside deliver an all round honest respectable set.

After copious clouds of cigarette smoke, and additional reggae rhythms, Finley Quaye made his way through the busy audience to the stage, adorned in a loose, shiny velvet shirt, enough to make Prince weak at the knees.

There’s a hope and eagerness buzzing throughout the crowd, that Finley will impress and convey his illustrious catalogue of personal ditties and superb odes to life with great passion and zest, in comparison to last year’s disaster at The Rainbow, which saw Mr. Quaye turn up with a bunch of strangers, after sacking his backing band the day before. And from the off, Finley embarked on a journey to set the record straight. With an outstanding, flawless, vocal delivery, and with a new, accomplished, backing band of experienced session musicians, it was straightforward for us to see why the audience were skanking along and relishing every minute.

Stooping low, in toward the front row in faded light, Finley expressed his might, with at times, a melancholic mood. Then later, looking out at the audience with one of the biggest smiles in town, the lead guitar kicked off, ‘Sunday Shining’ with rapturous effect. Knee bent body bouncing from the front to the back soon followed with extra treats of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and a stripped down rhythmic rendition of Jimi Hendrix’ classic ‘Voodoo Chile’.

By final song ‘Love Gets Sweeter Everyday’ every single eye and ear, including our own, stood encapsulated by the natural performer before us, and from the final rim tap, the whole show felt more like an evening with Finley Quaye than a gig.

Tommo Barnes

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