Having a new album to tour brings Ryan Bingham back to Dublin for a sold out show in Whelans. With his new three-piece band he has lost of none of the dynamics and overdrive that has been such a part and parcel of his live oeuvre.
The timbre of his voice is still one of a much older person, with a lifetime of experience. Yet Bingham is still young and draws his wry observations of a world he has encountered, first or second-hand, as he travels and performs. His fourteen song set included a selection of songs taken from all his four albums as he seems to discount a low key, independent debut.
From the current album, Tomorrowland, he naturally played a large selection which included Western Shore, Flower Bomb, Never Far Behind, Guess Who's Knocking and Too Deep To Fill. Earlier albums were represented by Dylan's Hard Rain, Southside of Heaven, Sunrise, Sunshine and Tell My Mother I Miss Her So. These were delivered with a variety of electric guitars that included a couple of Telecasters, a Gibson SG and a Les Paul as well as a host of effects pedals.
For a large part of the set Ryan led the sound on twelve and six string acoustic guitars. The latter lost a string mid-set, though he carried on playing with the offending string hanging loose, much like the band, who backed Bingham with a sense of accomplished abandon. Drummer Matt Sherrod, who played on the new album, with bassist Kelly Sherrod provided a solid rhythmic foundation for Bingham and guitarist Evan Weatherford to weave a rough but colourful cloth of hard guitars that was more rock than roots, although several songs were delivered in a subtler context.
The first two encores showed that Ryan Bingham is a very capable solo performer with his versions of Hallelujah and The Weary Kind, an obvious audience favourite which wasn't on the original set list and had not been included in the set on his last visit. The final encore song was a duel between both guitarists using glass slides for a climaxing and mesmerizing Bread and Water that left the mixed age audience well satisfied with their night out.
Review by Stephen Rapid. Photography by Ronnie Norton