Roger Davies – Live Review – Halifax Victoria
By Sarah Smout, November 2012
Roger Davies has developed a fan base to the extent that each of the opening chords to ‘Brighouse on Saturday Night’ and ‘Into the Sun’ receive a ripple of applause and several whoops of acknowledgement from the crowd. Though it is a sell-out, this back room performance at the Victoria Hall in Halifax still feels pleasantly spacious. Roger builds his rapport with the crowd by using his well-known self-deprecating humour and dry quips at his own songs and how they have become ‘famous’ in the area.
He seems truly grateful to everyone that has come. Sometimes he even asks if it was ok to begin a song. Instead of this coming across as overly polite and irritating, it actually endears him to the audience even more. He confidently strums away at songs about the local area, such as ‘Peter Brook’s Paintings’, and famous figures of local history, such as ‘Percy Shaw’. Everyone present seems familiar with them.
“Honesty of performance”
There is something about Roger’s songs in a live setting that brings everyone together. They dissolve the boundaries of performer and audience. This he demonstrates clearly by jokingly describing the second set as ‘Roger Davies by Request’.
We are all in it together, singing along and listening intensely during the quiet bits. Thus we abide by the two rules of a Davies gig – to have fun and sing along. But it is the subtleties of songs like ‘Sanctuary Cafe’ and ‘Restless Heart’ where Roger strays away from the catchy choruses, and provides a dip into his own emotions, that work best.
Intermixed with his more bluesy numbers and admissions at not being a proper folk singer, on ‘Raised on Rock’n’Roll’, Roger’s song writing comes across as genuine as his gratitude to the audience. It is true he is no great folk singer, but the honesty and integrity in Roger’s performance gives the night a relaxed and fun vibe. Everyone from 16 to 60 leaves with a smile on their face.