Rag’n’Bone Man – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax

Rag'N'Bone Man Live AtThe Piece Hall Halifax

By Steve Crabtree, June 2023

This year’s Live At The Piece Hall was one week old on this lovely, warm Friday evening. And for show six, it was BRIT Award winning Rag’n’Bone Man’s turn to light up Halifax.

A very popular show, with people crying out for spare tickets on the socials all week, this one is arguably the biggest contemporary act of the summer here in Halifax. We certainly are blessed to have such a range of acts and genres coming to us over the coming weeks.

We walked into The Piece Hall through the East gate this time around, stepping into a lovely vibe as support act Jensen McRae’s acoustic set was coming to a close.  The guys serving at Loafers were on good form as we grabbed a drink from them and headed into the courtyard to find a spot for the night.

Rag'N'Bone Man Live At The Piece Hall Halifax

“Something special in his locker”

Glancing around, the place had the most diverse age range that I’ve seen at a show for quite some time. We had kids and families, groups of teens, couples and friends in their 30s and 40s, and people of a more senior age too. I guess when someone appeals to such a vast range of people, he has to have something special in his locker.

And, I must admit, although I appreciate Rag’n’Bone man’s music, little did I anticipate the sheer brilliance that this show was going to bring. It was lively, brought a bit of soul, blues and hip-hop, and a bit of funk to Halifax. And tonight easily slides in to my list of one of my favourite gigs of the last couple of years.

Rag'N'Bone Man Live At The Piece Hall Halifax

“A formidable presence”

As his band cranked up the noise and his backing singers strutted out, Rag’n’Bone Man wandered on to stage to rapture from the Halifax crowd.  He coyly accepted his reception and went straight into ‘Wolves’. That set the tone for a big set, full of hits, regular album tracks, and a few new songs.

Throughout the night, ‘Skin’ sounded anthemic. ‘Time Will Only Tell’ fused summer beat vibes into the Halifax air. ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ was calm and soothing.  The audience really got their groove on when ‘Crossfire’ came on, and the courtyard sang along, bouncing their way through the entire tune.

Rag’n’Bone Man – aka Rory Graham – is certainly a formidable presence on that stage. Six foot five, tattoos, gold chain, massive beard. He certainly makes his presence felt. But, what a nice guy to go with it.  He seemed genuinely happy to be here and genuinely grateful for the numbers that’s turned out.  He took time to chat and talk between songs, and the guy carries no airs and graces, or attitude. If you went for a beer with him after the gig, you’d be in great company.

Rag'N'Bone Man Live At The Piece Hall Halifax

“Sensational crescendo”

He’d saved his really big hitters for the end of the show and his encore. As expected, ‘Human’ was received like a hero, and his vocals on it were absolutely perfect.  The guy can sing as we all know, but in that moment there was hard, fast evidence to just how effortless singing is for him.

But then it was encore time, and Rag’n’Bone Man finished off with a sensational crescendo that made the stage and The Piece Hall completely come alive. The evening culminated with ‘Giant,’ the monumental collaboration with Calvin Harris. This dancey-powerhouse tune only amplified an already electric atmosphere, with the lighting making a statement to the exhilarated Piece Hall revellers. It was a perfect climax to an epic and multifaceted performance.

It was a gig that sped through in a flash. You had to check your watch to make sure we’d had our 90s minutes! It was yet another brilliant night, and a superb show in the Live At The Piece Hall season of 2023. And Rag’n’Bone Man is certainly welcome back to Halifax anytime.

Images: Cuffe & Taylor/The Piece Hall


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