Our first visit to the revamped Garage and what a difference, with about 40 mirror balls hanging from the ceiling, it made the floors and walls look like a slide of multiplying bacteria under a microscope – most disconcerting.
David Ramirez took to the stage, in a blue denim jacket looking slightly ruffled, with a plastic glass of something to ease him through the set or to offset last nights hangover and announced himself as coming from Austin Texas. Many would describe David’s songs as depressing, in fact even David describes them as that but that is perhaps a little disingenuous, they are at times brutally honest and may concentrate on the darker areas of life but don’t let that detract from the fact that this man can command your attention, either by singing aggressively, passionately or by singing with a quiet sweet soulful voice.
Not one for mentioning the titles of his songs we’ll make a stab that the opening two are both from his forthcoming album, “We’re Not Going Anywhere”. The first, “Time” played out with David’s trademark delivery style outlined the day of someone with literally nothing to do, while the second “Telephone Lovers” detailed the death of a transatlantic relationship in painful detail.
Things moved up a gear with the slightly more uptempo “Stick Around”, though the subject matter still seemed a little dark. The show was not all misery by any means, in fact David has a very subtle sense of humour, his initial remark on starting the set was to admire the horseshoe shape that the audience had fashioned themselves into and before playing “Mighty Fine” he regaled us with a story of playing a prison, noting that he was telling prisoners locked up all day how hard it was on the road!
Keeping up the momentum, he picked up a harmonica for a solo during “That Ain’t Love”, and things really were cooking. A regular visitor to these shores, David expressed a great affinity for London, he was to slow things down once again with the absorbing “How Do You Get ‘Em Back”. The next song had a ferocious delivery around the line in the chorus “We threw the baby out with the bath water”.
As stated earlier, David somewhat plays on his melancholic demeanour, he told a delightful story of playing his record to his Mum who then asked if he could do something cheery! He then dedicated “Find The Light” to her. The final song of his set found inspiration in the musical losses that we have suffered over the last 12 months or so, noting that they will always live on in their performances, “I’m Not Going Anywhere”. It was delivered in the style of Leonard Cohen, one of those sad losses someone who like David was mistakenly typecast as having perennially depressing songs whereas in fact there was far more to him.
The new album is due in September, and hopefully he’ll be back on these shores next year to promote it.