Bud Rice @ Divan Orange – 30th January 2015

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Montreal’s own Bud Rice played to a packed out Divan Orange on Friday evening, launching his debut album, Belfast. The $10 cover charge was particularly generous when you consider everyone was given a copy of the CD at the door!

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It’s around 10pm before Bud finally wanders onstage, acoustic guitar in hand, and begins proceedings with the closing song from the album, the gentle Who I Am. If he’s at all nervous introducing these songs to such a packed out room, he certainly doesn’t show it. The stripped down song gives his smooth vocal plenty of room to breathe and within minutes he has the attention of the room.

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Through The Wind sees Rice joined by a handful of musicians as the song builds from an acoustic intro until a drumbeat builds the mood, followed by a little electric guitar and some female backing vocals. As the pace quickens and the tune builds there are a few whoops from the crowd and it soon becomes evident that we’re watching something more than your average singer/songwriter.

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Burlington brings a little more soul to Rice’s sound and shows the broad range to his vocals. It’s a lovely thing to see the man playing guitar to his right too – well known Montreal musician and former member of the critically acclaimed Celtic band Orealis, Dave Gossage. Gossage also happens to be Bud Rice’s father.

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By the time we get to Meet Me In The West End, the stage is full of musicians, backing singers and an array of instruments. Rice looks relaxed and confident, and now seems to be fully enjoying his moment. Eventually he adds horns to the mix and the audience get to witness the full scope of what the album has to offer. Dying To Know brings the party vibe before the soaring The Little Things bring things to a perfect conclusion.

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As an album launch, tonight could hardly have gone better. A great crowd, a cool little venue and a slick and impressive performance from everyone on the crowded stage. All ten songs from the album are showcased, demonstrating the broad range of his songwriting. Here’s hoping the album reaches the audience it deserves.

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Review & photos – Steve Gerrard

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