The venue isn’t full but there’s a vocal and enthusiastic crowd here to see Roland Gift and his band, comprising drummer Dave Barbarossa (Adam And The Ants and Bow, Wow, Wow), lead guitarist Dave Randall, a keyboard player and two identically dressed backing singers.
It’s a great set, comprising new and old material but it’s not surprising that his Fine Young Cannibals material gets the greatest response. They kick off with “Suspicious Minds”, Gift’s distinctive voice still sounding clear, smooth and strong. The band gel well together, particularly on a Reggae version of “Ever Fallen In Love” by Buzzcocks and other classic songs like “Johnny Come Home” and “Good Thing” get the audience singing along word for word.
Roland Gift and the band take a short interval to hold a meat raffle, a great tradition in pubs and working men’s clubs, one lucky punter winning a huge slab of beef and a chicken while a runner up gets a bag of potatoes.
Other song highlights are “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Not The Man I Used To Be” guitarist Dave Randall switching to acoustic guitar for this song. Former guitarist with Faithless, Randall has also written a book about the political power of music, his playing tonight perfectly complimenting Barbarossa’s assured and funky drum licks.
Hearing these songs again this gig is a great reminder of just how good the Fine Young Cannibals were. It’s good to see Roland Gift singing live again, he’s clearly enjoying himself on stage and with such a good band backing him up he’ll hopefully be around for a a good while longer.