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24 September 2014

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Live reviews

Badly Drawn Boy at the Royal Festival Hall
Badly Drawn Boy at Royal Festival Hall

Badly Drawn Boy at the Royal Festival Hall in London

Damon Gough may not seem to the most obvious candidate for hardest working musician of the year, but judging from what he put himself through on London’s South Bank, he might just get a nomination.

Badly Drawn Boy at the Royal Festival Hall

  • Date: Fri 6 Aug
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Reviewer: Chris Long

Before the superstar troubadour came Twisted Nerve’s latest acquisition, Rebelski. The Doves keyboardist is set to release his second album on the label in September, and if his live show is anything to go by, it’ll be a belter. Bookended by his double A-side debut Three/Scarecrow, his set showcased the heartbreakingly desolate Play The School Piano and the immensely cool Little White Lights, both of which are strong enough to have been part of the main set tonight rather than the support.

Martin Rebelski and Roger Quigley

The main event, though, was a gig of two halves, literally. For the first part, Badly Drawn Boy tensely worked his way through the entirety of One Plus One Is One, false starting on Another Devil Dies and Logic Of A Friend in-between sumptuous versions of This Is That New Song, Year Of The Rat (which he gruffly introduced with a terse “Number 38 in the charts!”) and a glorious Holy Grail, before trudging off stage for a short break.

Badly Drawn Boy
Badly Drawn Boy

The relief that he had done what he set out to do, albeit with a little difficulty, flooded from the stage on his return. “I can relax now I’ve got that out of my system,” he smiled, lighting a fag before launching into a collection of greatest hits and super sweet moments. Amid the occasional rant about the state of journalism and Big Brother, Gough provided stunning takes on Have You Fed The Fish?, Silent Sigh and Once Around The Block. The night belonged though to The Shining. Always a gorgeous moment, the acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall brought the strings to the fore and cracked it out in its heartbreaking best.

As Damon left the stage, he looked exhausted. Maybe it was the drinking session that he’d admitted to having the night before, but probably not. As he said himself in his show, he never meant to be a performer. Every time he steps in front of the microphone, it’s something of a trial for him, which is why it’s such a pleasure to find that he’s getting so good at it. In the future though, he shouldn’t be so hard on himself and leave the album run-throughs to Brian Wilson.

last updated: 10/08/04
Have Your Say

I went to this gig and can honestly BDB was ace but the crowd were rubbish. Cmon southerners join in when you wish!!

Ian Hoskin
Great show; BDB showed great versatility and endurance in his performance. Rebelski provided excellent supporting music. Great picture of BDB !

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