Roland Gift: A kind of review

Last week Daniel and Stephen had the pleasure of seeing Roland Gift at the Sage in Gateshead so I thought I’d do a quick review. As with our last post, the usual health warnings apply; this is not a proper, professional review. A professional reviewer would, for example, either already know the music of Roland and Fine Young Cannibals or at least do some research. I have done neither of these things and those of you with suspicious minds, may have already deduced that this be less a review and more a shameless attempt to promote Candi’s Dog.

Daniel is our chief gig getter and he has three crucial attributes; persistence, organisation and being really, really annoying. I would love to think people book Candi’s Dog because of our music, but I suspect it is just to make Daniel go away. In the case of securing a support with Roland Gift his dubious charms were ultimately unsuccessful, but he did get a couple of free tickets out of it and, never one’s to look a gift horse in the mouth, Daniel and Stephen duly turned up. There’s a time when I would have jumped at the chance of a night out, but I’m not the man I used to be, and besides we gig so much that often the last thing we want to do is listen to more live music. On our off nights Candi’s Dog can normally be found laid back on the sofa watching TV*, but for Roland we were really pleased we made the effort.

The Sage, Gateshead

The gig was in the Sage 2, and this was my first visit to the venue. For those not familiar with it, it is kind of a tube with the band at the bottom, rather like one of those pits used for bear baiting in the olden days. Roland was backed by a six piece band, who all looked really casual, not in the least bit ‘showy’. It took me until half-way through the set to realise that despite this look they were all co-ordinated, right down to matching trainers; denim on the left side of the stage, black on the right (except the drummer, they’re always a bit different). This approach followed through into the music, and the band were superbly polished without being over the top, letting the songs shine through.

The songs alternated between something old, something new, something borrowed (Suspicious Minds, Ever Fallen in Love) and I was disappointed that they did not perform something by British boy band sensation Blue to complete the set. Still the new songs, by and large, held up very well and mixed seamlessly into the classics. Roland’s voice was as fine and distinctive as ever, if a little lower in the mix than I would have liked, and he exuded a cool, charisma. Predictably the older songs had people off their seats dancing, but the newer tracks were really well received as well.

Roland was doing just four gigs in this tour, I am guessing to test the water before a bigger launch, and based on what we saw we can clearly say he’s onto a good thing here, and we hope to see him again in the future.

* Daniel – Chick flicks, Once Upon a Time, Matthew – US dramas and films in foreign, Stephen – Documentaries, programmes he hates so he can shout at the telly


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