Roland Gift – Live Review – Warehouse 23, Wakefield

roland gift interview fine young cannibals

By @Steve Crabtree, December 2017

The 80’s revival circuit has been established for a good few years now, and it keeps bringing back some great artists who can still cut it when it comes to a live gig.

One of those artists has landed in Wakefield, in the shape of Roland Gift, former lead singer of Fine Young Cannibals who’s actually been performing alone for quite some time.

Could there be a better way to end a weekend than a Sunday night of good music?

There’s a nice turn out for Gift tonight as he takes to the stage at 9.15pm.  It’s my second visit to Warehouse23, and I wasn’t impressed with the acoustics during a rowdy and raucous performance from T’Pau. So tonight I’m hoping for better things on the ears from Gift.

“On good form”

He’s welcomed on stage like a hero, and with arms out wide he returns the love. Launching straight in to his first couple of songs, any fears of acoustic destruction completely slip away.  He, his band, and his tunes are on good form and sound perfect.

Elvis cover ‘Suspicious Minds’ is high up on the set list, and a reggae version of ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ hits the spot with the fans too.

It’s Gift by name and Gift by nature too. His voice could well be even better live than it is on a recording, and that’s saying something. He has a striking soul vocal that’s often compared to Otis Redding, and the reasons why are clear tonight. It’s worth noting that he’s complemented by two great female backing singers too.

Mid-gig we have a curve ball as a meat raffle takes place! We’d been pre-warned about this by the warm up act, and by the compere.  But people had bought tickets and a bag of meat (and a veggie option of a bag of potatoes) were duly handed to the lucky winners!

All the hits from The Raw And The Cooked album have come out, and what’s nice is that they haven’t been saved until last. ‘She Drives Me Crazy’, ‘Johnny Come Home’, and ‘I’m Not The Man I Used To Be’ have been nicely fused in with a lot of newer and lesser known tunes.

Roland Gift Wakefield 2017

“Natural and cool”

It’s an intimate venue, and it’s nice to see Gift chatting to the audience between songs throughout. He’s natural and cool, and he’s really given us a great show.

I’m leaving Warehouse23 better for tonight’s experience. I genuinely thought the Fine Young Cannibals were good back in the 80s as part of my childhood. To see Roland Gift in my adulthood and appreciate just how good he still is has made my evening.

The Raw And The Cooked will get a bit more airtime in my car this week!


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