erasing clouds

Live Review: Roddy Frame/Hobotalk, Burns an’a’ that! Festival, Ayr Town Hall, Ayr, Scotland, 27th May 2005

by anna battista

As soon as he gets on stage, Hobotalk’s Marc Pilley announces he is honoured to open for a great songwriter such as Roddy Frame, then launches in ‘Give Your Heart’ from his band’s recently released new album, “Notes on Sunset”. Outside it might be a rainy and dreich night, as they say in Scotland, but Hobotalk convey a sense of warmth and summer with their gentle and inspiring songs. Tonight there’s only half of the band on stage, but piano, guitar and vocals are enough to recreate Hobotalk’s minimalist magic. Thanks to highlights such as the beautiful ‘Letter from a Friend’ and the soothing ‘Me & My Mountain’, by the end of the set – that finishes with ‘On the Edge of Nowhere’ - Hobotalk have practically won the audience over.

The Ayr Town Hall then fills with voices calling Roddy Frame, and he appears on stage pretty soon. As fit as ever, with just three guitars in tow, Frame opens with ‘Small World’ and follows it with more acoustic songs - among them also ‘Abloom’ and the autobiographical ‘Bigger Brighter Better’ - from “Surf” and “The North Star”. The first chords for ‘Stray’ are welcomed by enthusiastic applauses, while ‘Black Lucia’ is enriched by a long guitar interlude. Frame is rather chatty (he praises the audience for being a good listener and Scottish, “You’re right on two counts there,” he says, “thirdly, you are also perceptive”), relaxed and willing to recount us anecdotes or stories behind his songs such as his brand new ‘Rock God’, ode to glam rock and, essentially, a song about how it was growing up in East Kilbride (“A nightmare!” somebody answers from the audience).

Frame is pretty straightforward in delivering his songs, and his talent is simply overwhelming. Towards the end of the show, he goes down memory lane, pleasing the audience with classics ‘The Bugle Sounds Again’, ‘The Boy Wonders’, ‘Down the Dip’, and ‘Birth of the True’. The response is simply incredible, with fans singing in unison the choruses of these classics by Aztec Camera, there are even people head-banging during the very final song, an acoustic version of ‘80s hit ‘Somewhere in My Heart’.

For the fans gathered here tonight it must be reassuring to see how the ‘80s boy wonder is still one of the best British songwriters of the last 20 years.

{Photographs by Anna Battista}

this month's issue
about erasing clouds

Copyright (c) 2005 erasing clouds