Richmond Fontaine 28February Bury
Never seen a bad show by Willy and the boys and this was better than most. Richmond Fontaine ,thankfully , are frequent visitors to our shores(UK) and have built up an enthusiastic and loyal following. They toured to promote “We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River” only last Autumn and though still obviously promoting this their set wasn’t over reliant on the new stuff, excellent though it is.
Sunday’s gig at Bury Met was all the better for the presence of Paul Brainard, enhancing the band’s songs of loners, losers and the disadvantaged with wistful pedal steel and occasional trumpet. The latter helped kick the gig off with the instrumental “El Tiradito” off the “Thirteen Cities” album. Highlights of the night for me included a stirring version of “Hallway”, the contrasting quiet and lovely “Allison Johnson” and also from “Post To Wire” a rousing “Through”. Despite one guy shouting for “Lost Son” to which Willy informed him was a song on vacation and then later “Mule” there were no songs from the pre “Winnemucca” era tonight, not even “White Line Fever” which opened the show last Autumn. Willy did inform us that the song “Laramie,Wyoming” was the inspiration for his latest novel “Lean on Pete”. He also threw in a hard luck story of buying a van to use for touring in the early days which preceded a new(?) instrumental entitled “Living in a Van”(I think). A final treat was signalled by the opening riff of “The Gits” which eventually segwayed into a heart wrenching rendition of “Western Skyline”.What a great song that is, particularly live.
The paradox is that songs of desperation and heartbreak have never left me feeling happier. It is also clear that Messrs.Vlautin, Eccles, Harding, Oldham and Brainard really enjoy what they do and are nowhere more so than performing live. May it long continue.
Footnote:support act was Peter Bruntnell,excellent singer songwriter who got the night off to a fine start.This guy needs to be better known and from Willy Vlautin’s recommendation I think RF agree too.