The renaissance of Romeo’s Daughter has been one of the unlikeliest stories in rock of recent years. After reforming after a 15 odd year break for Firefest in 2009, subsequent tours with FM then led to a couple of fresh albums and – on the evidence of this healthy Friday night London crowd – they are now playing to bigger audiences than when trying vainly to make the big time first time around.
In contrast to their support, Romeo’s Daughter had nothing to prove with a crowd of confirmed admirers, though it was a surprise to see them come on devoid of keyboard player- though not of sounds being piped in to the mix.
I was delighted to see them open at their rockiest with ‘Heaven In The Backseat’, complete with bassist Ed Poole adding the Lange-esque gang vocals, as it had been absent from recent non-headline sets I had seen, together with another old favourite in ‘Velvet Tongue’.
However with a pair of albums behind them since reforming, including last year’s ‘Spin’, RD can no longer be filed under nostalgia with the newer songs taking the lion’s share of the main part of the set. Not all of them hit the mark for me, but the gentle melodies of ‘Bittersweet’ were insidious and the song outro had people swaying from side to side, and ‘Alive’ created an even more joyous atmosphere, while ‘Lightning’ also impressed.
While they lie on the poppier end of the melodic rock spectrum, understated guitarist Craig Joiner really got the opportunity to rock out on a pair of songs, ‘Already Gone’ and ‘Perfect Plan’, the latter even having the feel of seventies American classic and southern rock.
Her willowy frame clad in black and trademark raven fringe, sensual singer Leigh Matty must keep an ageing portrait in her attic. It is also a relief to see someone comfortable enough to avoid the usual foul-mouthed frontman clichés, and chatting to the crowd in a relaxed manner as if we were friends invited to her local wine bar.
‘Tripping Out’ really began to bring the crowd even further to the boil before a belated return to the oldies with ‘Attracted To The Animal’ from the underrated sophomore ‘Delectable’ album giving way to ‘Cry Myself To Sleep At Night’, featuring a mellifluous extended solo from Craig. The way the crowd shouted the lyrics word for word, with ‘I’m A Romeo’s Daughter’ loudest of all, signalled the way this is increasingly regarded as a classic, before the simple catchiness of ‘Inside Out’ was a perfect closer.
I secretly hoped ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ might be brought back for an encore but instead they returned with the acoustic ‘Will Be’ before in complete contrast they rocked out on ‘Wild Child’, a song so good it is always worth reflecting how Heart chose it as the lead off cut for the multi-platinum ‘Brigade’ album.
While Romeo’s Daughter will never reach those heights of success they radiate an uncomplicated joy in what they do, and in the gig post mortems I was not alone in fans who remember both their eras in proclaiming this their most satisfying performance yet. They can be added to the select list of bands that have reformed and eclipsed their original achievements.
Review by Andy Nathan
Photos by Paul Clampin
Original Review in Get Ready to Rock
Romeo's Daughter The Borderline, London (UK)
In a bold move Romeo's Daughter kick off with 'Heaven In A Back Seat', their best known and arguably most popular song, but it's a good move; it gets the crowd going immediately and starts the show with a great vibe. Leigh Matty's voice is strong, full-bodied and frankly beautiful enough to bring tears to the eyes. Although Kerrang couldn't decide if RD were Rock or Pop, live they most definitely Rock! It's easily as heavy as Bon Jovi or most AOR bands and not Pop by anyone's stroke of the imagination. Matty is clearly still loving performing with a passion and she has nothing to worry about when it comes to audience reaction, the love coming from the crowd and in the crowd's eyes was so apparent. It is clearly a strong, affectionate love built up over a number of years. Matty gets a wolf-whistle early on in proceedings (her hair being as thick and black and beautiful as it ever was) and feeling the warmth from the audience she remarks she wants to give them all a big kiss. From the look of it, there'd be quite a queue for that one and certain people look misty eyed!
'Bittersweet' shows off her brilliantly gorgeous voice which is literally like velvet and the crowd start swaying and going side to side like a football match UNPROMPTED! For a London crowd, certainly this early in a performance, that is pretty unheard of. 'Alive' sees the audience proceed to fully dancing as though in a club. 'Already Gone' is the closest proceedings probably get to Pop and is reminiscent of a really good Bangles song. 'Keep Walking' and 'Addicted' keep the energy up. Matty announces that 'Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' was first played twenty-seven years ago. The crowd are singing with unbridled passion usually reserved for in the shower, at least in the capital. People literally have their eyes closed in rapture swaying from side to side going full tilt! Matty is humble in the face of such adulation, thanking the audience and acknowledging the role their public play in the band being able to play. She has always been a classy lady, but what a class act RD are! A truly thoroughly enjoyable evening and a reminder that energy is everything when it comes to a crowd. Romeo's Daughter inspired a rare and precious little bit of magic tonight!
Review by Review by Dawn Osborne
Original Review in Rocktopia