Ray's Gigs

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Saturday 02 December 2023.

Saturday 02 December 2023. ROACHFORD live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Roachford presents ' A Soul Christmas Evening'. I have seen Roachford several times on stage, both as a solo artist and with Mike & The Mechanics. He has been singing with them the past decade or so. His hit single from the late 1980s ' Cuddly Toy' is totally mega. ---------- A very cold Winters day in London tonight. Levels 2 and 3 are closed and there is space on the floor and Level 1 so maybe only 500 or 600 here, which is a shame. Support act is ACANTHA LANG who arrived on stage at 8pm for her really good 30 mins set. She is backed by a guitarist and keyboard player. She is Louisiana born , but is now based in London. Acantha’s debut ‘Beautiful Dreams’ effortlessly blends Stax-inspired funk with Southern blues, as she tells highly personal tales atop spirited, shimmering grooves. Her storytelling style harkens to age-old blues traditions while grounding itself in contemporary themes. Armed with passion, a unique perspective, and a voice that stops people in their tracks, Acantha Lang’s full-length debut ‘Beautiful Dream’ is destined to propel her from an undiscovered gem into the pantheon of modern soul greats. ROACHFORD and band arrived on stage at 9pm. They played a great 1 hour 40 mins. ROACHFORD arrives on stage wearing a glittery jacket. ROACHFORD takes up his usual position, behind his keyboard. Clearly happy in his own skin, Roachford relishes performing on stage, aiming humorous banter towards his musicians, his audience and himself, which all adds to the homely aura he exudes. His set was a balanced mix of cuts and hits from his past, along with a couple of Christmas songs and cover versions. The last 30 mins included his 1988 hit ' Family Man' then a nice surprise saw MIKE RUTHERFORD come on stage for two classics from Mike And The Mechanics. ' Another Cup of Coffee' and ' Over My Shoulder' . While his 1989 smash 'Cuddly Toy' came with a hugely uplifting extended version...and final track was ' Only To Be With You'. ROACHFORD pop soul voice was top notch , a great show. ----------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- Friday 01 December 2023. PARADISE LOST live at Shepherds Bush Empire. They are on a European Tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their fourth studio album 'Icon' released in 1993. It marked a departure from the death-doom sound of their early work. They have re-recorded the album , and released it on vinyl. I saw Paradise Lost supporting Metallica in 1999. Support comes from MY DYING BRIDE. Both bands are from Yorkshire. Anathema ,Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride were a forerunner of the death doom metal and gothic metal genres during the early 1990s. These bands comprise "The Peaceville Three" as all were signed to Peaceville Records at the time. ------------- The venue is totally rammed sold out Lots of folks from mainland Europe here , especially Polish. Most of the crowd are in early for the support act, as they have also been around for over 30 years , with many albums out. MY DYING BRIDE arrived on stage at 8pm for their 55 mins. Both bands have huge curtains behind them with their logos on. The band played revered tracks like 'She Is The Dark' and 'The Cry Of Mankind' in a good set. PARADISE LOST arrived on stage at 9.30pm for their 85 mins. Crunching heavy guitar riff's and deep goth metal vocals in a nice setlist that mixed well known ICON tracks , rarely played tracks and newer tracks. An enjoyable pairing of bands. Full PARADISE LOST setlist played tonight... INTRO Tape - Deus Misereatur Embers Fire Remembrance (First time live since 2017) Forging Sympathy ( First time live since 1994) Joys of the Emptiness ( First time live since 2014) Dying Freedom (First time live since 1998) Widow Colossal Rains (First time live since 2008) Weeping Words (Live debut) Poison (Live debut) True Belief Shallow Seasons (First time live since 1994) Christendom ( Live debut) Encore: Sweetness ( First time live since 2011) Pity the Sadness No Hope in Sight Ghosts