Country On The Coast Day 3 - Royal South
In Dr Who terms the last time we saw Royal South they were mid regeneration, where you could still see the original faces of Glen Mitchell and Sara Beth with their respective solo material forming the bulk of proceedings and the Royal South persona with Vickie Vaughan, starting to appear as their new songs started to be liberally interspersed throughout the set. With their respective back catalogues full of hit material it was always going to be difficult transition to make but one that will gradually have to happen to allow Royal South to become a living breathing entity.
Opening with their take on Phil Vasser’s “I'm Alright”, they immediately appeared to be more of a trio, with SaraBeth taking the lead but with Glen and Vikki playing a key part on backing vocals. Vicky in a white T shirt, bandana, and jeans, as ever dwarfed by her double bass, while Glen sported a gray jacket and jeans with SaraBeth with her long blonde hair was sporting a fetching green jacket.
SaraBeth centre stage, cannot help but attract attention but during “Hate Is Strong But Love Is Stronger” Glen and Vicky’s contributions gave this the real feel of a band. They introduced the festival first to the wonders of “Holla ‘n’ swalla” before then showing them “Cry Cry” with Glen chipping with some notable guitar work, with the song sounding more worked up than I remember it previously.
Feeling the urge for a singalong, Glen changed the set list and dropped his voice a bit for a glorious take on Kenny Rogers "The Gambler", it was a good move and before the first verse was out there was clapping and singing from the crowd at the Gaiety Bar. The first Royal South release albeit that it originally came out under SaraBeth’s name was “Something About It” retains something special, especially when they join as three and power out the chorus. There was an outing for the SaraBeth song “Nowhere with You” but it now definitely feels to be more of a Royal South song, with the three way harmonies giving it a new lease of life.
Glen opened the next song, a cover of Dixie Chicks “Earl” with some great guitar work, SaraBeth may take the lead vocals but again Vicky and Glen made this a complete ensemble piece, Vickie sporting a permanent smile as she power plucked while providing backing vocals. Her moment to shine in the sun was to come during her cover of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces”, with her vocals reverberating around the Gaiety room while Glen adding some entirely apt guitar lines and SaraBeth adding percussion on shakers.
“You Rock My Rodeo” also now seems more of a Royal South song than a SaraBeth one, and who’d have imagined Glen as the “Rhinestone Cowboy”, but he was really powering out the vocals in an impressive manner, The new Royal South sassy single “Sh Don’t Say A Thing” went down a storm and the set closed with a final well known song, strangely the first outing of the weekend for “Take Me Home Country Roads” given that it is such a guaranteed crowd pleaser – All in all a well judged and well delivered set from Royal South.
Looks like that regeneration is just about complete.