© Kevin Cobb
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Returning hero Ricky Warwick has been frequenting home shores both solo and with Thin Lizzy,often in recent years. Utilizing some down time from his full-time band to catch up with both relatives and friends,Ricky was over to play several solo acoustic gigs.Playing Voodoo a relatively new gig venue on a Thursday night he still drew a decent sized crowd.Many new fans,who hadn’t witnessed Ricky since his Almighty days,mingled with die-hard Ricky hardcore fans.
Opening slot was filled by a local musician that I had only previously witnessed as part of his band the Filthy Angels. Matty James is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter from Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland and currently based in Manchester.
As a solo artist, Matty James has cultivated a sound that is equal parts bar room romanticist and the hardened workaday, creating an effortless balance between the turmoil of loves lost and won and the shallow joys of the first cigarette of the day. His blend of punchy rock n’ roll and booze soaked ballads has created a signature sound that draws listeners in from the off. Taking lead from such troubadours as Tyla of The Dogs D’amour and Johnny Thunders. He immediately won over the audience with a style very similar to that of the headlining act. His troubadour tales of whiskey soaked love and trials and tribulations generated a hugely positive audience response. Matty’s set traversed his solo eps through to including a stripped down track from Filthy Angels. Personal highlights for me included the title track of his “Uncertain Times”ep,and also “You’re not the only One”also from the same Ep.
Ricky Warwick has certain grown into the genial storyteller, and injecting tales of rock and roll excess and humor allowed an instant rapport and connection with his audience. He has also perfected a sense of comic timing and delivery.The set showcased his entire musical history from the Almighty, through solo tracks , Thin Lizzy and up to the latest Black Star Riders. Generally keeping everybody happy. One thing that is always conveyed through a Ricky solo performance is his natural passion and clear enthusiasm for his craft. Ricky also includes an element of surprise in his solo shows. From the brief injection of Ac dc during solo track”I cant wait for tomorrow”, through to a acoustic version of Maiden,s “Running Free”(which also included a segment of Priests Breaking the law) The surprise for many of the audience was a cover of pop princess, Britney Spears hit “Oops I did it again” (introduced as being written by Satan) I was already aware that this track would be included in the set(owing to the delights of Youtube). However instead of coming across a s twee and totally out of place in the set, Ricky actually reinterpreted the song in his own inimitable way, and made it sound fresh and appealing. However the slightly inebriated youngster beside me lost his rock credibility by singing along with every single word.!!!
© Kevin Cobb
Ricky was joined by a regular guest in Jack Taylor who was taking time out from his own band to provide solid backing rhythm accompaniment. Set even included a dedication to a couple who had met at a Ricky show 4 years previously, and were due to get married in a few days. Another shout out to the legendary Lemmy and his recent health problems was followed with a humorous personal anecdote of meeting Lemmy when with The Almighty. Customary cover of the classic biker anthem “Ace Of Spades”was next.
One thing that does rankle with me at solo acoustic shows is people that proceed to ruin the anecdotes, and stories by incessantly chattering throughout the performance. Banter is good at times and audience interaction is welcomed, but with one person talking throughout the entire performance standing just in front of me, I guess she just must have enjoyed the sound of her own voice. This gripe aside Ricky delivered his usual high standard of quality entertainment and great sing a long anthems. It was particularly satisfying to witness the audience reaction to the new Black Star Riders songs on their debut live Belfast performance.
Local indie rock god Nathan Connolly from Snow Patrol joined Ricky on stage for a few encores and then with a cover of Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen the set ended.
Ricky always delivers live, and his show for me personally improves with each one. He has finely developed his stage persona both with stadium gigs with his bands right down to solo acoustic club gigs. Guaranteed to deliver quality entertainment each and every single night-definitely Wild+Wonderful.