fri 12/08/2022

Blue Rose Code, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham review - stand out folk in a cosy, quirky venue | reviews, news & interviews

Blue Rose Code, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham review - stand out folk in a cosy, quirky venue

Blue Rose Code, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham review - stand out folk in a cosy, quirky venue

Scottish singer brings a mix of old and new material while back on tour with his band

Blue Rose Code

After a two year hiatus (imposed for obvious reasons) Edinburgh-born Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Ross Wilson - AKA Blue Rose Code - is back touring with his full band and a new album, with a string of UK gigs this winter.

Playing in Birmingham’s Kitchen Garden Cafe, in King’s Heath, Wilson with his band performed an honest and intimate set on Tuesday evening. It’s a charming venue, but even by pre-pandemic standards the gig space is a bit on the cosy side! I couldn’t put my coat on the back of my seat without inadvertently giving the man behind me a blanket for his knees. However, the mismatched chairs placed together and the close proximity to the musicians lent a very real sense of community, of belonging, that’s been missing these past couple of years. Opening with ‘Red Kites’ - one of the more upbeat tracks from Blue Rose Code’s 2020 album, With Healings of the Deepest Kind, the band played with a driven energy, adding an edge to the music’s soft, fokly feel. ‘Love a Little’, from the same album, was gently lilting, while ‘LDN City Lights’ had a more jazzy, almost country-esque feel with some impressive solos from Lyle Watt on guitar

Wilson opened the show by saying he and his bandmates had had a very strange evening, and alluded to an unusual encounter in an Italian Restaurant, though wouldn’t expand. I’m still haunted by intrigue and I’m guessing that was part of his plan, since he introduces a song, inspired by Ireland, by telling the audience that he fell in love both with that island and with the Irish love of mystery. Whether that mystery is to do with love, magic, folklore or a carbonara in King’s Heath who’s to say, but the shimmering cymbals at the start of ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ most definitely helped conjure up an air of mystique, before WIlson sang tenderly of Ireland, as well as his partner and as then unborn daughter.

A song which ‘used to be a sad song, but now isn’t’, Edina’, an ode to Wilson’s hometown more than hints at the pain and troubles of his past in both the lyrics and Wilson’s heartfelt singing.  ‘Peace in Your heart’, which Wilson dedicated to people who still don’t feel safe attending concerts, was a lovely tribute to those feeling just one of the pandemic’s myriad social effects. ‘(this is not) A Love Song’ had a bouncy energy, and ‘Grateful’ saw the band really having fun, exaggerating the phrases as the song went on. ‘I’ll never be cool’ is one of the lyrics. Well, Wilson seemed pretty cool on Tuesday eve, back in his element performing to an audience, with the backing of his excellent band.


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