Ray LaMontagne & The Secret Sisters. Live Review, Newcastle England
Ray LaMontagne & The Secret Sisters
Newcastle City Hall 27th February 2011
Laura and Lydia Rogers who are the Secret Sister have voices and harmonies that are crystal clear and coupled with their easy going charm their opening performance was a delight to watch; even if the City Hall sound did let them down for the first couple of songs.
With just one acoustic guitar for accompaniment, the Sisters sang a couple of songs from their debut album including the amazing ‘Tennessee Me‘ then, to everyone’s surprise the girls were joined by the headliners’ backing band, The Pariah Dogs for four songs.
The Secret Sisters version of the Everly Brothers ‘Devoted to You’ was wonderful and the pedal-steel guitar that accompanied ‘River Jordan’ helped their voices sound like Angels crying.
The marvelous reception the girls got at the end of their short set was nothing short of amazing and I’m sure they will back in Town soon.
Instead of standing centre stage like every other ‘singer,’ Ray LaMontagne chose to stand at the right hand side leaving him swathed in shadows, which seemed an odd choice.
The famous City Hall acoustics were perfect for the intimate songs like ‘New York City’s Killing Me’ and ‘There is a Land’, so it came as a huge surprise when the singer had a hissy fit and treat the 2,000 strong audience to a foul mouthed rant directed at the Sound man, following a moving version of ‘Shelter’.
A few seconds later he introduced the Secret Sisters, who looked visibly shaken, to join him for a couple of songs; which had echoes of Gram Parsons and Buffalo Springfield in their heyday; especially when Ray and the Sisters harmonised on ‘Like Rock & Roll Radio’ when his voice sounded like one long sigh.
By this stage the gaps between songs were becoming longer and longer as all three guitarists constantly changed instruments and fiddled with the tuning which broke up any flow that that LaMontagne had built up.
Although the two encores ‘Trouble’ and ‘Jolene;’ were outstanding, I was left feeling very disappointed, as it all could and should have been so much better.
Photography from the gig at Royal Festival Hall, London by http://www.flickr.com/people/jeffjeffjeffjeff/