Roo Panes at Bush Hall
The elegant Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush was the stage for young singer-songwriter Roo Panes and his atmospheric brand of folk music on Tuesday evening. He was preceded by two opening bands – In Their Thousands and Emily and the Woods – both of which lacked the charisma to capture the attention of the fresh-faced audience that continued to chat amongst themselves in the din-thronged auditorium.
The former Burberry fashion model finally entered the stage quietly along with his band, and without waiting for the audience to notice, commenced sounding out the first cords of his very beautiful song Ran before the Storm. His 12-string guitar was accompanied by cello and viola, weaving a soothing harmony that hushed everyone immediately.
Roo – short for Andrew – hails from a Dorset-based, artistically-active family. He calls his style of music, which blends various string instruments to create a simple, relaxed, and reflective sound, classical folk. The result is more or less free of the clichéd Irish flavour that colours a lot of UK folk, characterised by a cleaner, more personal, evocative sound that would seem at home sung around a campfire under a starry night’s sky.
Ran before the Storm was probably the most memorable song of the evening, with poetic lyrics vocalized by Roo’s handsome, clear tenor. It was almost cinematic in its touching melodies, like a breeze caressing the face of the grassy prairie. Know Me Well and Sing for the Wind followed and were equally pretty, if less stirring. Indigo Home, his famous soundtrack for a recent Burberry ad, wasn’t forgotten.
Only twice did the calm atmosphere heat up and induce a bit of toe-tapping action, as the music became decidedly country in style. Land of the Living, and the encore-performance of Cub, were both louder and more forceful, inspiring everyone to clap their hands and howl like country-folk gathered for a local fête. Roo Pane’s music testifies to his notable song-writing talent and performing skills. Time will tell if his original take on the folk genre will win over larger audiences.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Roo Panes’ website here.
Watch the video for Indigo Home here: