Last night I attended the last show of the year. I couldn’t foresee it’d be Rich Robinson the performer, considering I flew to Amsterdam to see him on stage. But life’s full of surprises, and there he was, right in front of me and about 200 people, at the best venue in town, Bikini.
Rich had already played live in Spain at a festival, but most audience didn’t get quite satisfied. I knew that was gonna happen. One hour is not enough for the kind of setlist combining songs with jamming he usually plans, and seems that they were starting to warm up when it was time to finish.
Probably this was one of the reasons Bikini wasn’t too crowded, playing in Spain 6 months earlier meant a toll.
People complain about his lack of presence and charisma as a frontman. To start with, Robinson is mainly a guitarist, and actually a great one. The feeling and class he has when playing, his amazing skills when using the slide are worth enjoying and observing. I remember his huge hands shocked me in Amsterdam. It happened the same last night.
He left his Gretsch’s at home this time and played another 5 guitars, among them a white SG Gibson, and the rest were these James Trussart’s custom guitars. Stunning pieces, by the way.
He’s really a shy guy, do not interact with audience that much and has this strong complicity with keyboard player, Steve Molitz, who is just the opposite, a very histrionic guy, passionate, wide smiling and pure nerve. Observing the way they were interacting, Rich needed Molitz to reassure himself on stage.
The rest of the band seem to be super comfy on stage. Mr Crabman, Joe Magistro, on drums, provides a solid rhythmic part together with Brian Allen, and the arrangements of Dan Wistrom, who usually plays with Jonny Kaplan in the US, with pedal steel are fabulous.
Set list changed from the show I had attended in February. Opening was quite similar, with Gone Away, Station Man , It’s Not Easy and marvelous Lost and Found. I missed Standing at the Surface of The Sun, which was quite an allegorical time in Amsterdam, but it was balanced with the epic jam of War Drums, again being the closing song for the show. Truth is that length was reduced, but still audience could enjoy was a Rich Robinson show had to be, and the impressions were very positive in general. Everybody, including those who got disappointed at the festival, was quite happy with the show, forgiving the fact that Rich is not a great frontman. I don’t care, I wasn’t looking for a copy of his brother, nor any David Lee Roth. I was expecting to enjoy the performance of a guy who wrote such an intimate album as Through A Crooked Sun, thus I didn’t want any histrionic behavior from his side. It met my expectations again.
Thus, with Rich Robinson, my live shows period has come to an end, at least in 2012. Can’t complain, I’ve attended approx 50 shows, 4 of them being festivals including several performances. I’ve won some tickets in contests, such as Rancid, Lee Fields or Rich Robinson, I’ve been invited by some promoters such as Teenage Head Music and On The Road, and Orange Goblin got me a couple of freebies to attend their show at Sonisphere, so definitely I have no complaints at the end of the day. Hopefully I will post my list of shows this year. Very good stuff, and great bands on the road. Again, 2012 has been an excellent year in music. Great!