Rob Lynch at Red Rooms, Nottingham

Originally, Rob Lynch’s headline tour with support from Allison Weiss wasn’t supposed to be as such. After the co-headline tour with, as Rob puts it, “he who shall not be named” had a reshuffle on the line up front, it was refreshing to see the come out with as much gusto and determination as if they whole thing had gone to plan. For those wondering, all Rob had to say  on the matter was, “I don’t know anything. Don’t send nudes to people you don’t know, that’s the moral of the story”. After a stunning support from Allison Weiss, with a particularly powerful performance of I Was An Island, the show was off to a flying start.

Last year we checked out Rob Lynch’s debut full length record, All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul, and after that impressive start, he somehow managed to better himself in person. So excellent was the performance that you could’ve recorded the live show and directly sold it as studio standard – though you probably wouldn’t want to with all the audience singing along quite so loudly. After a short intro of 31/32, the set lead straight into Broken Bones. Even whilst singing, Rob was struggling to suppress a smile, more aimed at the sold out crowd joining in without encouragement than his own brilliance; with a mood so positive and infectious, it was hard not to want to join in.

Taking a moment to thank the crowd before launching into Hand Grenade showed just how appreciative Rob was of the turnout, and after a few tracks he relaxed into the night fully, filling gaps between songs with quirky anecdotes. One that began with an explanation of how he knew Allison (via Warped Tour) lead to an fantastic impression of “men with massive neck tattoos” who front rock bands at the American festival. According to Mr Lynch, they stand on stage and shout out the crowd (in an incredibly deep voice), “‘we know you’re sad, we’re sad with you, we’re gonna help you get through this’…All I see is 14-16 year olds who’ve saved up for months being told they’re sad. I get on stage, like, ‘I hope you’re pumped’.” And being pumped was exactly what next track, Feeling Good was all about. It’d be an understatement to say everyone was pumped.

Rob’s humour adds a human and personal touch to the show in these moments, going on to (in the good ol’ punk acoustic way) praise everyone for coming out on a Monday. “I’m always worried about shows on Sundays and Mondays because society says you have to stay in and be up for work, not have a beer. So good on you for going against societal normals and coming out. You’re social activists.” On a more sincere note, Rob speaks of how he was asked at a previous tour by a fan to play one of his older songs at this set of shows – said fan was in the audience at Nottingham, and slowing the pace of the show to accommodate Souls, off his 2011 self-titled EP, was a special moment of the night. Part way through, Rob switches the song to Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All – only after the playing the track at other shows did Allison tell him it wasn’t Keating’s own song.

After an introduction the man he was sharing the stage with for the night, his guitarist Johnny, Rob tells the crowd of his hometown (“I go back and see my mum and family and friends who haven’t escaped”), and the story behind next song Stamford – it involves Christmas jumpers, mistaken identities and a fist fight. Need we say more? The pair’s layered vocals do well to enhance the song, especially in the close. Rob talks us through a tuning change (“you can now hear the C sharp going into a D”) before another upbeat but heavy number off his album – Whiskey, a track about a night spent with his late father.

The mood lightens as he compares playing in Glasgow to Germany in the fact that, “they won’t understand what I’m saying and vice versa… I just have to gesticulate”, before playing another golden oldie with Hawking. From old to new, Rob tells us that he’s already working on the upcoming record, and plays us Baby, I’m A Runaway off of it. Despite being one of the quietest and softest tracks of the show, it receives the same overwhelming cheer the rest did. Taking a moment to say a few words about his mother, Widow is once again built up with the combination of the pair on stage, and the crowd do their bit to complete the sound.

Plans is the last of the older tracks of the show, the audience showing as much enthusiasm for it as for penultimate harmonica fueled Medicine. Even a plug of his and Allison’s merchandise had a humorous touch, (“buy it from us, not the bootlegs outside. The day I’ll have that, I’ll have made it”), before warning of the last track, infectious My Friends And I, with, “if you know the words, sing along. If not, you’ll pick them up by the second chorus”. Singing and laughing, there couldn’t have been a better way to win up such a brilliant show. The best live show I’ve ever seen.

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