Live Review: Ryan Hamilton – The Cross Keys, Knaresborough – 07/09/2015

Knaresborough, North Yorkshire isn’t exactly an established stop on the touring route for international musicians visiting the UK. But when AH’s favourite bespectacled Texan singer-songwriter Ryan Hamilton announced he’d be visiting the town’s Cross Keys pub for a bonus date to his house party tour, we were more than happy to see him in action in the cosy confines of a local boozer.

It was, in fairness, one of the more oddly mixed crowds we’ve been part of in a while. One part devotees of People On Vacation, the band Hamilton fronts alongside Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick, to four parts local music enthusiasts, bemused old blokes who’d wandered in for a pint and assorted chums of the land lord. Hamilton took his motley audience in his stride though with a winning combination of his quirky Texan charms and his entertaining if moderately perplexed observations of the native British he’s seen on the road.

Hamilton broke out the picks of the tracks from his new album ’Hell Of A Day’, the most notable of which being ’Be Kind, Rewind’ which within one verse and one chorus had the entire pub singing and doing various takes on awkward bops along to the song, despite a good ninety percent of them having never heard it before. Similarly the bright, irrepressibly upbeat and tidily melodied guitar pop of ’Karaoke With No Crowd’ saw most of the people leave the show with a copy of Hamilton’s album in hand. The tongue in cheek barbs and country-pop stylings of older track ’Oh My God’ even drummed up a modest sing along of its own.

Wisely Hamilton also chucked in a couple of well-chosen covers into the set, with The Rolling Stones ’You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ raising plenty of smiles among the older audience members, while Reo Speedwagon’s ’Take It on The Run’ here rechristened ‘Take It The Bum’, indicated he’s picked up a strong line in sophomoric humour from his regular partner in crime Reddick.

Throughout the show Hamilton was accompanied by regular the regular POV UK touring drummer, but with the UK touring bassist also in attendance we were treated to an impromptu performance to a handful of not quite full band performance of a handful of their tracks. These included ’Rainy Day’, ’Because Of The Sun’, ’All I Ever Really Wanted’ and an extended set closing rendition of ’Lonely Fish’ playfully reworked in musical styles shouted about by the audience.

It really is impossible not to like Ryan Hamilton or his music. It’s catchy, heartfelt and damn it could make you feel better about pretty anything. Full credit is also due to Hamilton for making the trip off the beaten path from the traditional Yorkshire tour stops, as well as to the promoter for taking the gamble to put on the show in an area whose live music scene is in dire need of a lift.

3.5/5

Ryan Hamilton links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)

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