There were no superstitions and few bad omens when The Urban Voodoo Machine made their debut Lichfield Guildhall.
With a healthy, lively audience, and a mesmerising stage presence, as well as some finely honed musical skills, The Urban Voodoo Machine showed that they were more than able to live up to the hype.
Fronted by eye-catching lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Paul Ronney Angel, with a line up of double bass, two drummers, a violinist, a trumpet player, and a keyboard and accordionist, the band packed a lot of sounds, styles and ideas into their set.
A tour with Brexit in the title was always going to be contentious, and there were songs of anger and vitriol here, fronted by Ronney-Angel’s voice, which had elements of Tom Waits, Shane McGowan, and Van Morrison in the slower, more soulful moments.
The concert was started by a New Orleans funeral procession to the stage, with Lighting from a Blues Sky, its fast beat and swinging musicianship showing the band’s full intent.
With Johnny Foreigner and Orphan’s Lament looking at sadder subjects, and the subdued Spanish guitar of Emptiness, this was a concert of sharp contrasts, while Fallen Brothers looked at the deaths of people who had died before their time.
There was still time for the more upbeat, such as Crazy Maria with its accordion part and sharp violin playing.
The second half started with the neo-Celtic lines of the instrumental Chat Noir Bop, while the bluesy ebullience of Down in a Hole or Goodnight My Dear aimed as much for the feet as they did for the heart.
The gospel-tinged Help Me Jesus and Goodbye to Another Year closed the set.
The audience wouldn’t let The Urban Voodoo Machine go without more, which was delivered by the banjo-infused tale of love and redemption of Pipe and Slipper’s Man, and the joyful gospel stomp of I’ll Fly Away, the acapella vocals and band procession around the hall providing an ear and eye-catching finale to a concert that had been full of so many memorable moments.