Rag’n’Bone Man at the Jazz Café
Rag’n’Bone Man, AKA Rory Charles Graham, is a formidable presence and talent. While he could be playing bigger venues, he took up a three-night residency at the Jazz Café to give his band work and bring a glimmer of hope to live music fans. It’s an intimate venue with the audience seated at tables, which draws big names with its historic past and grimy glamour.
The artist and his band march on stage, on time. With little preamble except some genial banter, he dives straight into the first song and with that he has you. His voice is epic, a juggernaut of raw heart – less a talent and more a superpower. Good thing he chooses to use his power for good and not evil.
Certainly, his effect on women is something to behold. Two giddy women at the foremost table keep handing him coupes of Moet. The crowd is lively and there’s some excitable back-and-forth, which he handles with ease. He treats the audience with respect and love, and it is more than reciprocated.
While he has face tattoos and an intimidating size, his songwriting shows that, underneath, he has the delicate heart of a poet, as shown on tracks taken from his album Life by Misadventure (out on 7th May). There is a song for his son (Fireflies) and one that meditates on the pressure women are put under in regards to having kids (Alone).
His latest single All You Ever Wanted, a reflection on gentrification, has a Bruce Springsteen Born to Run feel to it. The album was recorded in Nashville and the new songs are infused with that influence. Crossfire also has a similarly propulsive feel.
He has a knack for a simple, powerful tune that gets under the skin. Changing of the Guard has an instantly moving tune; Somewhere Along the Way has a funky groove, and Time Will Only Tell is a slinky little number. His band is excellent also, clearly enjoying themselves and glad to be back. A rendition of the irresistible Human, his 2016 worldwide hit, is exciting. A joyous, giddy evening – what he’s got can’t be bottled, it can only be enjoyed.
Photo: Augustini Creative
For further information and future events visit Rag’n’Bone Man’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Human here: