published: 16 /
With their fifth and latest album 'Post to Wire' having put them firmly on the map, Americana act Richmond Fontaine toured the UK for the first time in May. Olga Sladeckova sees them put on a stunning performance at the London Spitz
It is the first time that the Portland, Oregon-based Richmond Fontaine have toured the UK. The band’s latest album ‘Post To Wire’ definitely placed the band on the map over here in Britain. It’s already their fifth album and tonight’s gig at the Spitz promises to definitely have a lot to offer.
Even thought it’s Tuesday night the Spitz is very busy. The Broken Family Band are the main support and warm up the already hot venue further .
Richmond Fontaine finally step up on a stage just before 10. They open their set with one of their possibly most tragic, but certainly beautiful songs, ‘Western Skyline’. While the song closes Richmond Fontaine's fourth album 'Winnemucca', tonight, as the gig's opener, it comes with no less of an impact. It tells of 2 friends, one hurt and bleeding to death, and the other holding him and leading him towards that death but also to redemption..
“There was glass and blood everywhere,
And I held him in my arms
And there was no one around for miles”
sings Willy Vlautin, the band’s singer, in a steady and emotive voice out t into he venue. The music is very calm at first with just an occasional drum thundering, but when Willy finishes the last lines of the song
“Under a Western skyline, I swear you will be…
And you will… you’ll be set free!”
The drums unleash their energy and you can literally feel the friend’s soul drifting away towards the skyline. By that time many of the fans are neatly squeezed up against the front of the stage and awarding the band with applause when the song reaches its end.
‘The Longer You Wait’ and ‘Montgomery Park’ are both from'Post to Wire' and from the reaction of the audience I judge the album has been selling well. ‘Montgomery Park’ has a very fast rhythm which even starts a few people dancing and throwing themselves around regardless of the shortage of space in the auditorium.
Half way through their set, with slight nervousness, the band add a brand new song. The song has a very catchy rhythm. Having not been told it was new, I doubt many people will have really noticed how unsure the band were about playing this.
‘The Longer You Wait’ and ‘Hallway’ are both also from ‘Post To Wire’ album and again, like 'Montgomery Park', have a speedy rhythm but also a slightly darker feel to the music. I don’t like comparing bands to others. but it has to be said that Willy Vlautin's lyrics have a lot of Bob Dylan's storytelling attraction in them. You just can’t help but follow them to their conclusion.
One of the last songs of the main set is ‘Cascade’ from their third album ‘Lost Son’. The time is getting on now but in spite of that the fans enforce an encore from the band.
It’s past 11 when the band introduce their last song of the set. “There is a place in Nevada called Winnemucca” Says Willy. “I wouldn’t go all the way there from London but if you ever end up there go to a place called Winners Casino. You lose all your money and end up wondering how you got there” he concludes and laughs.
‘Winnemucca’ brims with carefree spirit and is combined with a story inspired by the common feeling of need to escape from reality.
Richmond Fontaine are planning to be back in the UK in September.
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