It`s a blustery wet night as I arrive at the intimate oasis that is the Kitchen Garden Café for what has almost become almost an annual visit from Belfast Singer-Songwriter, Poet, Author. Raconteur and all-round nice guy Andy White. This evening being one of his stopping off points on his thirteen-date tour of The UK and Ireland.
The warm up for tonight is Adam Beattie v The Rail Abandon. Which in fact is a collaboration of musician / singer-songwriter from Aberdeenshire Adam Beattie and Huddersfield born, musician / singer-songwriter, producer and engineer Sonny Johns. The guys take a turn each during their set and their very different voices really compliment each other. Tracks such as `The Man I`ve Become` and `Sickle Red Moon` really stood out for me from Adam and his gentle voice and `Say You Won`t Go` and `Hey Winnah` from Sonny with his deeper voice very reminiscent of the late John Martyn. These guys are worth checking out and are trying to organise a show at the KGC in March. Something to look forward to.
This Ulster troubadour has a fine pedigree, having collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Sinead O’Connor. He also had a group called ALT with Liam O`Maoniai of the Hothouse Flowers and Tim Finn of Finn and Crowded House.
Tonight`s show is drawn largely from two albums, his stunning debut “Rave On Andy White` rereleased after 32 years and last year`s release “The Guilty & The Innocent” which was based around the two themes of Love and Politics. Andy is also joined tonight, by his talented son Sebastian on drums. The show kicks off with a couple of tracks from the latest release with the wonderfully catchy `This is Not A Television Show` and `Age-Old Story` before almost merging into tracks from thirty two year old “Rave On” with `Things Start To Unwind` and `Vision Of You.` A number re written for the current Commander in Chief follows with `Very Fine People` before the heart-breaking `I Will Wait`
A song written in the Irish border town of Clones, Co Monaghan called ` Reality Row` is shared before the audience sing along with `Mean Mofo` The show closes out with some partially requested pieces with the quirky `If You Want It` and its unforgettable lyrics of “If you want it, come and get it, It`s the last long evening on the planet”, the beguiling `Italian Girls On Mopeds` and the tear-jerking `The Whole Thing’.
The enthusiastic crowd ensure that we get an encore with the title track off the last release `The Guilty & The Innocent`, a new track which I think was `Right To Know` and finally another cut from “Rave On” with `The Soldier`s Sash`.
This was a wonderfully relaxed, intimate and absorbing show from a magnificent singer / songwriter who tonight proved that his gift for writing thought provoking and hard hitting political songs to a catchy tune hasn`t diminished over the last thirty plus years. As his 1986 release states “Rave On Andy White”.