Debbie Richards, Gig Review. The Ship Inn, Hoylake. Festival Of Firsts.
Debbie Richards took to the stage at The Ship Inn and took the audience that had made their out of the ever increasing heat and quite simply blew them away with an entertaining and lively performance that erred on the enamouring.
It can’t be easy being a jobbing musician and regardless of what people think, for those who fit in their music around a demanding day job, it must be hard work and something to be considered challenging; especially when you have performed with what can only be thought of as great distinction for the fourth time in a week.
What came across as Ms. Richards sat on her stool in front of the audience was that whilst her keyboard playing was just tantalising, there was something about her voice that was surprising, booming, resonating with untold power that when she spoke in a normal voice, when the singing stopped and resumed her conversational patter with the crowd the difference was marked. The command that she displayed as she opened up her time at The Ship Inn with a remarkable version of Blondie’s Hanging On The Telephone which was sang with a gusto that the great Debbie Harry would have surely admired and her own track Don’t Let Go garnered much admiration from those inside the venue.
Hanging on the Telephone wasn’t the only cover that Ms. Richards would perform and whilst performing other bands tracks is not usually the best way to go, if you as a performer are going to do it then if you can change it somehow, change the meaning or the structure of the song to give it a new lease of life and not perform it ad verbatim without stripping it apart and showing that the song can be different then it can be an interesting experiment. For Ms. Richards to take on the Inxs classic Never Tear Us Apart and give it a more feminine, sultrier and less pleading approach was a shot in the arm and technically superb.
It is Ms. Richards own compositions though that should more admired. The indelible creative streak that is evident as she performs them is admirable and the tracks Wrong Place, the excellent Follow You and the set closer Go Away were well received and in the case of Follow You would send tiny shivers up and down the spine as she sang the unrelenting lyrics.
An enjoyable set with a few surprises thrown in; Ms. Richards is a genuine pleasure to be savoured.
Ian D. Hall