There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the UK’s latest musical export Rag’n’Bone Man, and the truth is that he deserves every bit of it. The smooth voiced Rory Charles Graham has found a winning formula laying his rich baritone down over contemporary hip-hop beats, as evidenced by the fans present at his Adelaide Hall show this past Monday night. The crowd knew every word of every song from his recently released album Human, even the fast paced rap verses. It was Rag’n’Bone Man’s first ever show on Canadian soil, and it was definitely one to remember.
Graham’s booming voice filled every corner of the intimate venue, making him a powerful presence. The balladeer also stands at an impressive 6’5”, so he was especially commanding on the small stage as he doled out strong-yet-soulful songs like “Grace” and “Odetta”. The latter was particularly affecting, as it was written about his friend’s newborn daughter and how she brought joy into his life.
The show was a solid mix of big, triumphant tunes and scaled back numbers, with Graham alternating between them effectively. There was of course his stage banter as well; the man is exceedingly humble and gracious, with a hint of that trademark British cheekiness. “I know a lot of our songs are pretty depressing, so here’s one about being totally content”, he quipped before launching into “As You Are”. Another highlight was the stripped-down version of future hit “Skin”, which was performed with just a piano backing Graham. Things were scaled back even more on “Die Easy”, which Graham performed acapella.
Of course the show wouldn’t be complete without monster single “Human”, making an appearance towards the end of the set. The crowd had been fairly wild before it was played, but they really went crazy when the iconic drumbeat started up.
Graham finished things off with a two song encore, with the crowd clamouring for more. They’ll definitely get it when he and his big voice return on a much bigger stage this summer at WayHome Music Festival in July.