When Rivers Meet/Troy Redfern -
The Waterfront Studio, Norwich, Saturday, 14th May 2022
Set List: Scorpio/John The Revelato/Waiting for Your Love/Sanctify/Voodoo Chile.
As soon as I had arrived and stood in the queue outside The Waterfront Studio, there was a positive vibe in the air.
People just randomly chatting to one another about how they’d seen Troy Redfern & WRM on YouTube & Facebook. This felt different to other gigs I had covered in the past. As I stepped into the room, the air was full of excitement and this was only the beginning of what was to come. Nothing had changed at The Waterfront Studio since I was last there in 2014; still no pit and was far too warm. It only held 200 people and unfortunately this felt too cramped.
I hadn’t heard of Troy before this concert so I researched him on YouTube and found out he’s in 'The Troy Redfern Band', they sounded powerful and loud so I expected a three piece band but to my surprise as the lights went down and Troy stepped up on stage. It was just him and his guitar.
You just knew this was going to be different and it was. Just Raw and Pure Blues. Straight away, Troy had captured the crowd’s attention with his opening song 'Scorpio'. Troy’s guitar was a National Stylo with its own unique sound, his raspy voice and foot stomping took you back in time to how the blues used to be played.
As the set went on, we were treated to the amazing songs and guitar skills Troy possesses. My favourite track was 'Voodoo Chile' for its unique style it just caught my attention as in WOW. He played in a manner where the songs blended into one another (but not in a bad way), taking me on a musical journey to New Orleans and back, which was over far too quickly.
We were left wanting more.… The only issue was some feedback once or twice but overall it was an amazing start to the evening.
Set List: Did I Break The Law/Walking On The Wire/My Babe/Battleground/Don’t Tell Me Goodbye/Free Man/Lost & Found/Innocence Of Youth/Bury My Body/Tomorrow/Friend Of Mine/We Fly Free/He’ll Drive You Crazy/I Can’t Fight This Feeling/Kissing The Sky/Want Your Love/Never Coming Home/Testify.
With a 30 min break and the venue at full capacity, it was getting rather hot and sticky but that didn't seem to affect the buzz in the room.
The audience who were at the front were shocked that the set list was 3 pages long and set time, 90 minutes. Prior to this tour, it was just the two of them playing small venues with little following. Then along came Covid and many bands had fallen by the wayside but WRM had flourished by using this time to write new tracks and stream them on various social media platforms with great success.
All of a sudden, the room lit up with strobe lights, then on came stage When Rivers Meet consisting of main members, Grace Bond (Lead Vocals/Mandolin/Violin), Aaron Bond (Guitar/Vocals) alongside Roger Inniss (Bass Guitar) & James Foxy Fox (Drums/Keyboards) making up the full live band experience.
Straight out of the blocks was 'Did I Break The Law', this had the audience looking shocked as Grace’s vocals were much different to what we’re used to hearing on social media. She sounded 100x better live. Her vocal range was outstanding and reminded me of some past singers who were big acts and often featured in the top 10 of the UK charts.
With this, the crowd just seemed to be in awe of what was happening right before their eyes. As the set went on, we was treated to some amazing songs, Grace shared WRM’s story of how this tour came about and how they have a great band. The interaction between the band was great. They were having lots of fun, the band all had smiles and were just enjoying playing to a sold out venue with fans that believe in WRM.
Throughout the night, Aaron & Grace’s interactions with one another made it feel special, it was as if we had been allowed into their life to see the special bond they have. Their songs stand out and feel like they’re written with love and affection. 'Bury My Body' was one of my favourite songs of the night. Grace & Aaron shared the story of how it was recorded, they were locked in their van for hours until it was completed, which was funny & interesting.
The song started with Aaron’s classical guitar intro and Graces soft whistling, this made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, you knew this was a song you wouldn't forget. The harmonies and the instruments, that included Grace playing her violin with a soft tone, gave it that beautiful yet haunting feeling. This could be a sound track on a block buster movie.
The night had a great mixture of music ranging from soft rock to hardcore blues. The prepared set list was fantastic because it wasn't just a load of songs thrown together, it was carefully thought out to keep you on your toes. You didn't know what was coming next.
Aaron's 3 string box guitar and Graces skills of playing multiple style of instruments gave them an edge in the RNB scene. It was different and yet so wonderful. I spoke to their fans after the show and several of them hadn’t seen WRM live before, they were blown away with the experience.
Some of the fans are now on their 3rd or 4th gig because of how great WRM are. It won’t be long before they are headlining big festivals, etc. At the end of the set the crowd just erupted with cheers of their love and support for WRM, which seemed to have surprised Grace, as you can see in the photos below.
The interaction between the fans and WRM was different, you felt privileged to be part of the journey they’re on at the moment. The band spent over a hour with fans after the show taking selfies, doing autographs and chatting to us as if we’re part of their family.
I for one can see WRM going places. The main room next time and then the next stop hopefully arena level!
By Paul 'Animal' Hampson