Live: Roddy Frame @ The Barbican.

Roddy Frame is back in the limelight. After bringing the High Land Hard Rain album to stages last year he has continued to develop a slick and down right witty show. His natural humour, quick retorts to the crowd and abundant self confidence are a strange juxtaposition to his years in the wilderness.

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

That classic album has been the centre piece for some recent performances but at The Barbican the songs are mixed in with other hits and favourites. Oblivious starts the evening and Frame’s guitar playing is scintillating, his fingers as quick as ever. Ray in the front seats shouts out that  the acoustic solos are a little quiet but depending on where you sit this is down to the sound subtleties of the hall. Even if the bass sound is a perhaps a “little wooly” Roddy quips.

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Frame likes to include the audience in how the songs were written and what they are about and White Pony is a nod to John Hughes mantra of  “sometimes you have to stop and look around” and in particular the movie Sixteen Candles which points to a teenage existence in East Kilbride.

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Cups of tea bought on to stage, tales of recruiting new band members precede the social media love song In Orbit with its lines “Hey, little bird. What’s the word?”. Roddy Frame only tweets once a year so he’s well up on it. The most atmospheric part of the show is when the band is reduced down to violins and keyboards for On The Avenue and the nearly mistimed Let Your Love Decide. With his sharp as the Shard wit he tells us he does not make mistakes and is a great believer in the Homer Simpson quote “It was like that when I got here”.

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera (Simon Jay Price)

The evening stealer is the brilliant solo performance of Going Down The Dip with spotlights positioned to project his shadow massively enlarged in Elvis Presley pose onto the giant white screen. If only they had they us photograph that one. Wonderful character references to the film The Great Beauty and how Frame was inspired to play “this room” at The Barbican lead to a hint of a potential acting career and a classic line from the film spoken in Italian.

It is not only the early compositions from Aztec Camera recordings that make the night feel special but the whole band playing in my front room feel that Roddy Frame gives us through his warmth, banter, marvelous stories, crystal clear singing voice and his extremely smooth guitar playing.  Jep Gambardella aside… its not just a trick.

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