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Live Music Review: Rob Green and Eric Bibb at Rescue Rooms Nottingham

16 April 18 words: Anna Murphy

“Now that we’re friends, I’m going to take my shoes off. Although, I don’t advise you do that… these floors get very sticky.”

Here opens Rob Green’s Rescue Rooms set. Supporting the legendary soul and blues singer Eric Bibb, it’s the start of Green supporting Eric and a home-based send-off for the Nottingham-born singer.

But don’t think that just because Mr Green knows of Rescue Rooms’ notoriously sticky flooring that he was playing things easy; opening his set with a stone-cold audience and encouraging them to vocally participate in his first song was a risk, but one that paid off. Green is part performance poet, part soul singer and all parts fun. His energy and activity on stage was nothing short of infectious and even the crowd who hadn’t previously heard of him were soon shaking their tail feathers and tapping along.

With soaring vocals and flawless melodies, this was one of the best gigs I’ve seen in a long time. Each pause between song had Green interacting with the audience, joking and chatting seamlessly with the growing numbers of people who arrived and stopped to listen. He is, quite clearly, an all-round performer with catchy tunes and charisma that seeps out of every pore.

After listening to songs from Rob Green’s EP – and some new music from the album that he’s currently writing – I felt quite sad that his set had come to an end. With Rob calling out to the audience “The vibe in Nottingham is always sick, so let’s show Eric a good time,” he gave a hearty wave and rejoined the crowd to listen to Eric.

Arriving onstage in his trademark hat, Eric Bibb’s note-perfect delivery showcased his many years of touring, recording and performing and his three musicians that joined him to form a quartet were equally as impressive. Particularly profound was the poignant verisimilitude that Eric uses in his songs; the explanations for why he wrote what he wrote, and the stories that inspired them.

The backstory to With a Dollar in my Pocket explained the true story of one of his “blues elders” running away from a lynch mob in Mississippi, with only having time to create a makeshift weapon for safety, and not even having time to say goodbye to his loved ones. This was where Bibb’s clear talent shone through, with his serene, faultless delivery tripping across the airwaves.

I’m not just saying this – and it feels almost sacrilegious – but what Eric Bibb provided in experience, his performance, for me, felt somewhat deflated after such a brilliant start from Green. And don’t get me wrong; as I’ve previously said, Bibb’s performance was note-perfect, with a calm delivery and jaunty shoulder moves as he played his guitar. But the gaps in-between each performance left the silence a little too long, but then perhaps that’s unfair when, at the crux, it was one of Green’s most memorable performances to date.

Eric Bibb performed at Rescue Rooms with the support of Rob Green on Thursday 12 April 2018

Rescue Rooms website

 

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