Rory Ellis at Yard Dog BBQ Newcastle, England
Yard Dog BBQ, Tyne Bar, Newcastle
Saturday 25th June
I’m a ‘Man of the World’ and in times gone by was known to have a ‘big drink’ when going to gigs, but I’d like to think I was never less than courteous to the people around me. Which can’t be said about the front three tables of ignorant drunks who talked incessantly during Rory Ellis’ headlining set at this year’s Yard Dog BBQ.
The Australian Country Troubadour was never less than professional at any stage during the evening; but you could see his Soul slowly dissolve every few minutes.
Okay; let’s get onto the good bits! This was the first time I’d seen Rory Ellis in concert and I certainly saw enough to make me want to see him again.
From what I could hear his stories that introduced the songs were witty and well constructed and the songs themselves were superb; especially Jesus Lane, from his latest album and tells the tale of his loss of Faith.
To bypass the noisy tables Rory even introduced a simple song called Work that included audience participation; but by then it was a losing battle.
For those who haven’t heard of Rory Ellis; he’s a damn fine banjo player and can hold his own against the best of Australia’s acoustic guitarists too; but it’s his voice that his fans love. It’s deep and raspy and gives added edge to his blue collar songs.
I was happy to hear quite a few songs from the recent PERFECTLY DAMAGED album; especially The Gravy Train and 65 Pontiac; which both sounded really good; through the din.
By the time Rory went through the charade of a ‘will he/won’t he’ encore; the front tables had finally emptied and Rory looked visibly relieved as he sang The Gift; about a drugs bust that went hilariously wrong and a traditional Australian folk song called Wrong Side of the Fence which highlighted the racism that used to exist in the Outback. Those who were left outside the Tyne Bar, clapped along but it was too little too late and the damage had been done.
What promised to be a great ending to a good day had fallen flat; so I’ll leave my actual judgement of Rory Ellis’ live act for another quieter evening.