When Queen famously played Live Aid, they stripped out all unecessary parts of their songs to leave the pure essentials ensuring as much as possible could be squeezed into their allocated slot. We were reminded of that while watching the Harriet Rose Band who dispensed with such frivolities such as giving song introductions and just concentrated on delivering a set that left you invigorated and glad to be alive to have seen it, packed full of vitality and energy let alone excellent singing and musicianship. With the aid of some scribbled notes and Harriet kindly writing down the set list we've pieced together what took place!
Things began with "Hey Mr Barman" a delicious bit of old time rock 'n' roll meets country - played with some 21st century oomph - the chorus ending "I'm gonna drink till I die". Things got even wilder with "Trouble", initially a mid paced tune driven by a strong back beat and bass that seemed to draw to a close half way through, before exploding into some sort psychobilly rock at a frantic pace - it was simply exhilarating and quite unlike anything else we had seen or would see the whole weekend.
In a total change "White Chair" started as just Harriet on acoustic guitar with Tom Julian Jones providing a sweet, camp fire harmonica sound. With the audience hanging on Harriets every word, this moving country ballad was to be another of the festivals special moments
From there it was straight into the rocker "Empire" the spirit of punk merged with the attitude of Johnny Cash with Tom's rocking guitar solo only adding to the total madness to join Harriet's full on vocals - truly magnificent.
Confounding any expectations, "Drive" was a classic piece of pop country complete with the band adding backing vocals, This was wonderfully modern and seemed radio ready!!!
Harriet had introduced herself to us with the single "Small Town Chains" and yet as she started it as her final song it was barely recognizable, dramatically slowed down - the slower pace really giving it a deep Americana feel - it was moody, magnificent and Harriet's vocals excelled.
Two minutes in though normal service was resumed and like a 33RPM record played at 45 we were in a race to the tinale and what a race it was - full of attitude - even finding time for a quick diversion via "Fulsom Prison Blues" before returning to the main song, with rocking guitar solos and searing vocals - it was an absolute joy to witness!!!