Reviewer: Simon Topping
Rag “N” Bone Man, AKA Rory Rory Graham, has come a long way in a short time. His meteoric rise has come since the release of his debut solo album Human in the February of 2017. In under eighteen months his debut album has sold over three quarters of a million copies, he has won two Brit awards, sold out tours across Europe and the UK and become a father for the first time. What a purple patch! This has of course come off the back of years of effort. Effort which has not gone in vain.
Here it seems almost all of the Latitude festival goers have flocked to the Obelisk Arena where he and his band are performing. The auditorium is full and so are the large amount of seated stands at the back. This is an omen of good things to come; a fabulous 50 minutes of hits and new songs. The crowd are treated to a masterclass in soulful, connected music from a warm, friendly giant of a man.
Graham strolls onto stage with a calm confidence, wearing all black as a foundation colour but adorned with a cheery green and white floral shirt to brighten things up as well as some snazzy yellow red and blue trainers to set the outfit off with a bang.
In a contrast to his deep soulful, gravelly singing voice he greets the throng in his up beat, higher-pitched London accent; he is an endearing man.
Starting off the set strongly with Lay my Body Down, shades of the late great Chris Cornell spring to mind. This is perhaps the most rock orientated Rag ’N’ Bone man tune and it is a perfect opener for a crowd bathing in Sunday sun.
On the journey this evening with Graham are his wonderful band; a tight seven piece including an excellent back line of bass, guitar and drums plus two players making up a banging brass section and a smooth duo of backing vocalist.
Moving through the set like silk, stand out songs include the smash hit Human with a remixed section superbly rapped by the singer, a cute song about his son, reminiscent of a Joe Cocker tune, as well as an uplifting singalong, Love is All You’ll Need.
Graham’s voice is a stalwart of the British music scene already. You feel his pain and emotion with every word. Like Guy Garvey from Elbow, he is a genuine one off.
When you see Rag ’N’ Bone Man the outstanding impression you get is that everyone involved is a kind soul. Graham himself leads from the front saying, “If we could turn all that hate we have for Trump into love what a great thing that would be.” It’s a message that the audience lap up and cheer in agreement.
The twelve song gig ends with the head nodding Hell Yeah, it is good as any Terrance Trent D’arby offering and leaves the festival happy and rocking gently. As he departs Graham asks the gathering to throw up their peace signs for him, which they obligingly do and with that he is gone but the love in the arena lingers. Peace out!
15 July 2018 | Image: Victor Frankowski