Rainband hanging out to dry

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Martin Finnigan The Rainband

The words rang out "it's not about the size of the audience it's about the quality", and in a lot of ways that's true — 22 turned up and that included the two support acts, one band of five and a soloist plus a few of their entourage.

No matter, Finny nailed the Rainband's opening number as though he was in front of a stadium of thousands and maybe in his mind he was; the Rainband has plenty of experience of performing to big audiences.

They have had major tours supporting the likes of Paulo Nutini and Simple Minds, even the day after this gig to play live at the Etihad.

So Crewe where were you? This was Friday night; I couldn't believe that the once vibrant Box which has hosted many great nights could not attract an audience with the quality of this lineup.

Talented and quirky, great lyrics and a style all of his own Chris Tavener opened the evening.

Think Rufus Wainwright, or maybe more dad Louden, humour and a uniquely delivered set, one who will certainly be up there on any venue's must-have acts.

Oli Ng, new lineup with the Vagabonds went down a storm and boy do his self-penned songs come to life.

A great soloist in any intimate venue, Oli is transformed with the full might of such a talented band — the Eyres' core of Jordan Cope on bass, with Leon Robinson on skins and new addition Keaton Thompson on lead guitar, the cherry on the cake.

In the introduction to Arms & Hearts, Steve Millar shared the vocal duties and added that gravelly edge to Oli's distinctive vocal. First time out for this lineup and they so nearly hit the tightness of an Eyres' performance.

The headline, The Rainband; pub gig or stadium headline you get the full-on performance from these guys.

Frontman Finny, founder band inspiration and guitarist, Phil Rainey (yes he was in Peter Hooks Monaco), James Cowell on drums, Joe Wilson guitar and bro SamWilson on bass — they really do rock.

The hits rolled out — Rise Again, She's a Rainbow and new release Storm was nailed in this hour-long plus set, magically topped off by the Rainband's rendition of Painted Black, written for them by Jagger and Richards, and performed as only the Rainband can.



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