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Concert Review by Nick Morgan

RON SEXSMITH AGAIN - Central Bar and Grill, Victoria BC, Canada - Friday October 29th - by mega-deluxe guest writer Nick Morgan

It's Friday night in rainy Victoria on Vancouver Island. It's the Central Bar and Grill, where courtesy of maestro distiller - retired - Mike Nicolson (the racoon-skin hats tell me that Mike and Anne haven't yet totally settled into the Canadian way of life - or maybe they have) we're waiting, along with a packed house, for Rockin' Ron Sexsmith to take the stage. Oh yes - and as Ron is a bit of a star in these parts now ('Whatever it takes' from the new album Retriever is a radio hit in Canada) there's an alarming number of female admirers crowding us diners at the front of the stage. Like Ron and his band, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Maybe it's the girls who make Ron a little nervous, despite the fact that he's on home ground - he lived in Victoria for a few years - and pauses through the evening to acknowledge old school friends in the audience. So although the first half of the set is good - more tunes from Retriever, the marvellously possessive 'This song', and the quotidian heartache (to quote a companion) of 'Strawberry blonde', plus some excellent Fender Telecaster (the acoustic guitar players axe of choice) work from Ron on 'From now on' - there are a few musical and vocal wobbles. Particularly when Ron moves to the clunky and badly amplified Yamaha keyboard and nearly loses it altogether on 'Foolproof'.
But supported by his excellent band ("nine and a half out of ten", says Mike) he recovers well with a solo 'Tomorrow in her eyes', sung in anticipation of a reunion with his sweetheart ("sweetheart"? - well we are in British Columbia I suppose) and then cracks into a top form home run, including 'Dandelion wine', 'Cheap hotel', 'Sacred heart', 'Lebanon Tennessee', and a three song encore finishing with 'Riverbed'.
We counted 25 songs in almost two hours, perhaps only half of which he played a few weeks ago in London. The girls were wild - Ron dashed for cover, no doubt thinking of the imminent arrival of the sweetheart, and his Mum.
And by the way, Ron had lost the suit and raised the sartorial stakes with a de rigueur rock and roll shirt. Altogether then, a most satisfactory evening.- Nick Morgan (concert phograph by Kate)
Thanks again Nick. I've found another good track by Ron Sexsmith: From now on (mp3). There's also a great video of Wheterver it Takes (Quicktime - beware, it's a 21MB file) on Ron's website.

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