Rainbow Girls at The Music Room, Ipswich 13 September 2015
Still buzzing from the musical high provided by the Rainbow Girls at Norwich Arts Centre a few days earlier I could not resist another dose of rainbow colour, positivity and Californian sunshine with the girls playing just across the border in Ipswich close to the town’s impressive waterfront development.
A grey and damp afternoon rapidly cleared to some gorgeous sunshine as we approached the venue but being somewhat early headed for a bite to eat on the waterfront, serendipity working in such a way that the Girls all had the same idea to eat at the same place at the same time, so it was really a nice surprise to see them and catch up before the gig.
It’s a nice setting, especially with the sun setting behind the beautiful ship masts.
Just up the road is the Music Room, previously a nightclub I believe, it has been recently converted to a live music venue. It has much potential with a decent stage area and dancefloor. It had something of The Talk feel about it to me (but could certainly do with some ales at the bar amongst all the draught lagers, as could The Talk but that’s now what drew the comparison).
The Sunday night audience was markedly different from that at Norwich the previous week and I sensed most of the audience were seeing Rainbow Girls for the first time but the girls quickly weaved their magic and people were soon coming closer to the stage and getting into the wonderful music.
I was pleased to hear a couple of not often heard tracks amongst the set list, and also for the appearances by Luc on trumpet for several songs, who was given the honorary name of Lucille and variations upon it whilst he was a “Rainbow Girl”.
He was onstage for the superb No Women Allowed, Caitlin reeling off her favourite bands when she was growing up, with women not in any of them. Most of these bands I can detect influences of in their music and in fact at the mention of Louis Armstrong Luc dropped a few impromptu notes from What a Wonderful World into the song. Interestingly, as an aside as this list of favourite bands is almost identical to my own it made me think about my current favourites in this context and I’d say a huge proportion of the acts I love best who are active now have at least one woman in their number, this year, several of my favourite gigs have been either by solo women, male and female, or all girl bands, Rainbow Girls being the notable one and I really admire the way they get their messages across. From recent gigs Milly Hirst, The Vagaband, Rope Store, Morganway, Emily Winng, Miss Mute, Danni Nicholls, Handsome Family all spring to mind. Look out too for new Norwich band Graceland, another bunch of strong girls, only two gigs under their belt so far, the first at NAC and their second at the weekend … Bestival!
Many higlights in the set, of course No Women Allowed, Naked Song, Yuba (with its sweet reference to Cheyenne) Rosewood Guitar and Tin Tang Game from the first album, plus Can We Keep This Love Alive, It’s Alright, Don’t Let Me Down, Labradorite, Daydreamin’ and George Lassos the Moon which always reminds me of that incredible gig at the Ten Bells a couple of years ago … one of, if not the favourite gig I’ve experienced due to the people, the impact of coming across the Girls for the first time, their music, the atmosphere, and the spontaneity and serendipity of the occasion … serendipity seems to play a recurring part with them for me … I think they have magic powers!
They played two sets tonight and closed the evening coming onto the dancefloor to cover Dylan and then serenade Nikki with a delightful birthday song which totally charmed and delighted everyone.
Of course I loved both sets, the girls playing brilliantly as always and with that special, precious energy. A mix of old and new songs, some fine attitude, variations in tempo, and influences aplenty showing through, especially some Beatles touches. I love them. The music is great, the songwriting also superb and they leave one just feeling so good and alive!
The tour continues at The Slaughtered Lamb in London this Thursday.
Many thanks to Rainbow Girls, James at BHM, The Music Room, Mark the photographer who kindly took a few snaps for me on my camera with the girls, and the many kind people we met, not least those who rushed to our assistance on the waterfront when my friend’s wheelchair toppled over on our way to the venue (he was ok), and the kind chap in the venue who came over with the money said friend had just dropped, and also for the assistance in the venue. Fine ambassadors for Ipswich, thank you.
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015