Live : The Goat Roper Rodeo Band15.09.16 : Blue Sky Cafe, Bangor
There is an irresistible sport, the luge, in the Winter Olympics were athletes slide down an iced toboggan track with unstoppable momentum on what looks like a spray painted silver service tray. Watching The Goat Roper Rodeo Band in full flight is something akin to that headlong rush. With the animated stage show, bodies and instruments jolting incurably with the music, it's probably just as dangerous in close proximity.
Two records into their career The Goat Roper's recipe of two guitars, a dancing double bass and aching harmony vocals has become a real phenomena - compelling country grounded music played acoustically with more electricity naturally in it than many bands could drain plugged into the mains.
They were ably supported on this date by the warm, engaging country duo, Hank's Company Band, who played a mellow set with an effective reading of Dylan's It takes a lot to laugh, a train to cry as its centre piece. They framed the evening perfectly for the headliners, who shuffled on stage with little sign of what was about to be released.
Relying heavily on their new album Cosmic Country Blue (Released October 7th), bursting out of the blocks they raucously machinegun rattled out their faster songs, without ever losing the music, each delivered with just a few shades more pace and fire than on record. The new music and quickening tempo resulted in an energised, fearsome set of infectious, exuberant, foot stomping country blues - that paused for breath with the gentler blues of Old Joanna, the skiffle rhythms of new single Old Heartache, the mournful tone of Devil's in the Detail and My Sweet Woman, and the bar room desperation of Hey Chuck.
An hour in they finished the set with a heartfelt, spellbindingly soulful rendition of Don't Believe in You, followed by rapturous applause and an encore showcasing the swirling wall of sound of new song High Heel Blues.
On stage The Goat Roper Rodeo Band bring to country blues the life force and vitality The Pogues in their prime brought to Irish traditional music. You'll seldom see a band as completely absorbed in what they are doing - by the end they were wrung out by what they had put into the performance.
Before leaving I very briefly spoke to someone connected to the band, who asked quizzically, "Aren't they amazing?" Yes, and for once that is exactly the right word.
Catch them if you can.
- I Got Room
- Mean Man
- Old Joanna
- Old Heartache
- The Rhythm of Love
- The Devils in the Detail
- Next Time Around
- Tomb Stone
- Whiskey Lullaby
- My Sweet Woman
- Blossom Blues
- Hey Chuck
- Catch Me If You Can
- Stick It On Red
- Don't Believe in You
- Encore: High Heel Blues
THE GOAT ROPER RODEO BAND I Old Heartache