Review: Rockin’ At The Royal, Dumfries – 5/10/18
The historic Theatre Royal recently hosted ‘Rockin At The Royal’, an evening of blues, rockabilly and acoustic tunes.
The gig sold out completely a few hours before, and saw local acts Stoney Broke, The Dogz and Chasin’ The Train performing in a rather relaxed and intimate setting. So intimate, in fact, that there wasn’t even an actual stage.
Opening the sold-out show was Dumfries (now Gretna based) solo singer-songwriter Stoney Broke. He was the first act to play, appearing half an hour after the doors opened. The crowd was small, and we can be sure that the reason for so few people being there was not due to any lack of talent or ability. Instead, it was most likely due to the evening being rather widely advertised as starting from 7pm. People were only just starting to arrive, probably unaware that the doors opened 30 minutes earlier. Nevertheless, Stoney Broke put on a full and strong live set, consisting of his own material. It was great to see him back in Dumfries – indeed, he even mentioned in between songs how rarely he plays in his hometown due to being in demand all over the UK, and particularly in Cumbria.
By the time The Dogz appeared, the crowd was now noticeably bigger. The room quickly became full of happy faces, and the audience couldn’t help but dance to the wide range of cover versions that The Dogz performed. Singer Andy McMillan always knows how to get a crowd moving, and he certainly achieved it for this gig. It became clearer as they played on that many of the crowd had come to see this band specifically. After they finished playing, many either relocated to the bar or left entirely. And it’s clear to see why – they are the perfect live band for people out having a few beers/glasses of Prosecco with their friends before continuing their night elsewhere.
In terms of their ability, the band is full of seasoned musicians who are not new to this game and that shows. Yes, it’s all covers, but it’s all good covers. Some would even say great covers. We particularly loved their cover of ‘Tainted Love’, but we’re sure many would struggle to name just one favourite from their set, as they were pretty spoiled for choice.
Chasin’ The Train
Headliners Chasin’ The Train ended the evening and by now the crowd had reduced slightly in size. Many headed off to continue their night elsewhere, but luckily, Chasin’ The Train have a loyal following who were very ready to watch the band in such close proximity.
It was great to see singer Tom Cuddihy connect with the audience from the start, and his natural stage presence and mic skills welcomed the crowd, making them feel like part of the performance.
However – and we feel it is better to be honest here – some of the additional interaction from the band towards members of the audience between songs threatened to add a negative edge to what was an extremely positive event. What was no doubt meant as ‘sarcastic banter’ from one member came across as rather awkward.
Otherwise, the performance and sound of the music was great, with band members clearly enjoying playing to their committed crowd. It was also fantastic to see first act Stoney Broke being invited on stage to play a song with the band too. By the time Chasin’ The Train ended their set, the room was so hot that many were grateful for the blast of fresh air as they headed back out into the chilly October darkness.
We first mentioned this venue in our ONR review back in December, and ‘Rockin’ At The Royal’ has again proved that The Studio at the Theatre Royal continues to be the ideal space for live music. With many locals commenting that Dumfries and Galloway needs more music venues, it is a wonder that it hasn’t been booked up with gigs by more local music acts.
Words by Melissa Gunn. All photos credited to Melissa Gunn at Small Town Sounds.
For more photos from the night, check out our feature In Photos: Rockin At The Royal, Dumfries – 5/10/18.