Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I just found this- It's from Norman Sands' Homepages- A Manchester Review!


We use to play for silver, now we play for life…………..

The Life Café in Manchester is a beautiful cozy bar. Holding around 600 people and the stage is maybe a foot off the floor, A person in the front row is about a foot from the band. Above the stage is an angled mirror that even with barely any lighting a person in the front row could see someone taping in back and vice versa. Ratdog opens the show with a Jam Into a funky Loose Lucy led by Mark Karan and Kenny Brooks. After which the band take us Truckin, Which bobby sings with great enthusiasm. Then the dog takes us softly into its all over now Baby Blue which Bobby soulfully sings as the crowd sings along. Jeff Chementi fills in with a perfect solo. The band hops right into Brown Eyed Women which Mark takes off with and plays a lovely jam with feeling that spins the band forward, With Robyn Sylvester laying down a nice bass line. Jay Lane and Kenny bop us through its all over Now. Robin thumps us through She Says with Kenny and Mark and Jeff nailing their solos. Kenny and Mark take us into a splendid West L.A. Fade away. Bobby sings a perfect Scarlet Begonias it's like they have had no time off with Jay taking the song to the next level on the drums. Right into a nice Aiko Aiko closer that Kenny Brooks blows on and Jeff Chementi pounds out. Ratdog it seems is saying bye with the set list so far.

Bobby opens the second set with some nice cords on Candyman, on his Acoustic guitar and his voice. Bury Me Standing is the next song with bob still on acoustic. Kenny lays down a sweet solo and accents the song nicely. The song started off slow but by the end the whole band provided a lot of depth and layers on a song lasting 10minutes plus. At which time Bob tells us another acoustic story Black Throated Wind like only he can. Jay and Mark jam us through Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, From Schoolgirl into Ratdog's own Ashes in glass. After Ashes the band does a groovy improvisational Jam without Bobby. Jeff starts a Terrific Wharf Rat with an inspirational solo as Bob strikes the first cords. Jay and Bob together bring the song up and down. The highs of explosiveness and the lows of where you care about the man in the story and it touches you somewhere inside. Mark starts to play the intro too Saint Steven. The crowd starts to twirl and dance with excitement.. Which take us into the fabled William Tell Bridge. Mark takes us all over then right into a magnificent Eleven. Seems like since the second night they have been gaining momentum each night each song. At one point towards the end of the Eleven everyone is improvizationalizing at the same time all in different directions but still within the structure of the song and it rocked. From that point into Not Fade Away which just keeps the wheel rolling and you can't slow it down. Get out of the lane the love train is running. The band leaves the stage everyone's catching their breath writing the set list down. The band is back about four minutes and twenty seconds later with a scrumptious encore Brokedown Palace. Which ends a wonderful night, Jay Lane introduces the crew which is a sad moment because that's the end of the 5 show 6 day mini U.K. tour. From the looks on the faces of the people leaving the Life Café it looks like the band showed them the time of their lives and lit them up like they were Mars on the closest pass to Earth in 50,000 years.

Norman Sands