By: Robyn Crosby
A lucky 373 people were the first, not only in Toronto, but Canada, to see British singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man. The intimate, sold out show at Adelaide Hall on Monday night brought an eclectic and very captive audience who left with goose bumps and dropped jaws.
The 2017 Brit Awards named the “Human” singer as the British Breakthrough Act of the year. An award previously won by Sam Smith and Adele. And from what Toronto witnessed, we reckon, won’t be the last of awards for this charmingly talented artist.
Now platinum selling in Canada, the Columbia Music Canada artist exudes true grit, whether he’s singing about being lost or low or songs of contentment. He will make you bop and sway with his tunes no matter the topic. He gave a bit of preamble about a few songs to give you a sense of what they are about. He told us “Odetta” was a song he made for his friend going through a hard time and “You’re Way or The Rope” was not as heavy as it sounded and was just about waiting for his girlfriend to get ready. At one point, the endearing artist joked about how low the ceiling was on stage and how tall he was, that he should keep his drink on the ceiling instead of bending down for it. Endearingly he referred to his joking as “talking bullocks”, all the while having the audience in the palm of his hand.
The part where the crowd got their goose bumps… Well, that was during the soulful song, “Die Easy”. The band left the stage and we prepared ourselves for that something special to come. It was then, Rags stood alone and poured “Die Easy” upon us. Just him, no music. Fittingly, he left the stage before the appropriate encore of “Bitter End” and “Hell Yeah”.
Rag’n’Bone Man started as a rap emcee and later was encouraged by his father to pursue blues music. His name is a nod to the BBC sitcom, Steptoe and Son. He bears the letters to spell Funk on one hand and Soul, on the other. Rags is an embodiment, possibly tacked to be leading the charge in this vintage-sounding-genre, making it modern, relevant and something not to be fit in just one genre or format. He has worked with the likes of Bastille, Jamie Lidell, Kate Tempest, Gorillaz and his earlier years, KRS-One. And he holds up, live.
If you’re a music lover, you need to stand witness to this voice and soul that is Rag’n’Bone Man. Fortunately, Fource Entertainment is bringing Rag’n’Bone Man to Wayhome Music & Arts Festival in Oro-Medonte this summer, so everyone can get their fill of this talented man.