With influences that ranged from the acoustic guitar heroics of Michael Hedges to rap, a lively stage presence and the ability to play more than one instrument at a time, the concert that Rodney Branigan performed at the Lichfield Guildhall was never short of entertaining.
The Texas-born troubadour has played all types of music in all types of venues in his storied career, so the more subdued atmosphere that the Guildhall provided was miles away from the American pubs and clubs that he first played in, but his adventurous, boundary breaking guitar and mandolin playing – sometimes at the same time – and sonorous vocal won him many fans in the audience.
In two sets, the music he played ranged from his own dextrous instrumentals, to covers of music by the likes of The Beatles, Kanye West, and Radiohead.
Although the music was technically demanding, such as the fleet fingered two handed tapping sections of The Slot Machine, or the syncopated blues guitar and vocal patterns of Buckets, it was also immediately accessible, putting groove and melody above pure shows of technique.
Kayne West’s 18 Years and Branigan’s own A Devil to Like showed the influence of modern rap on his style and delivery, while his cover of The Beatles’ Come Together was a tour-de-force in on stage dynamics.
An encore of Radiohead’s Creep was a fitting ending to the concert, as it was nearly the 25th anniversary of the band performing for Lichfield Arts.