Buckle & Boots 2023: The Paddock Stage - Robyn Red
Robyn Red had arrived early at Buckle & Boots to soak up the atmosphere ahead of this highly anticipated performance. Highlighted by #TEAMw21 as one to watch, solely on the strength of her new single "When The Sun Sets" rather than her earlier one.
Curiously enough it was that earlier single "Like A Bullet" that was to start things off. Stripped of it's somewhat dubious percussion, this was a different beast entirely - even with just Robyn and an acoustic guitar it easily generated more excitement and power than the recorded version.
Robyn, an elegantly tall figure with long flowing blonde hair under a red cowboy hat, had a great stage presence. She would prove be a charming host as she guided us through her set. Her next song "Ten Years On" was written post C2C - had something of a classic country feel to it.
"When you first placed your lips on mine
We were underage drinking in a little dive bar
With fake id's and we never got caught".
The song came in two halves - the second half picking up the pace which came with a sudden ending seemingly as Robyn pondered what would have happened if the relationship had never started.
Another new song "Between the Two Of Us" saw Robyn revert to a a deeper duskier voice on the verses - The chorus providing the opportunity for Robyn to hit a massive extended note with the power of a sledgehammer.
The next song came with the introduction "This is not a true story!" which is as well as the protagonist was both a bigamist with some other girls on the side - who is destined for a sticky end. The song "Luke Jackson" details his fate. which looks bleak considering that when he returns home from work Robyn has been busy
"I had a 6 foot hole dug up out the back!" which she and the other wronged women intend to bury him in alive!
A cover of Ashley McBryde's "Girl Going Nowhere" came with the cheeky request to tag Ashley in with any videos taken. The B&B crowd knew their part and when to provide the "whooping" support required for the song - it seemed it might momentarily put Robyn off, however if it did she quickly adapted and took it in her stride. One hopes she does not find too many parallels with the backbiting hometown folk - it did seem to move her though for a second.
A final new song "Just Need The Wine" was a testament to the joys of having a good time -
"I want to do what the good girls don't
I want to bend the rules, I want to play the fool
Just need the wine to tell me what to do"
The set was to close in style with Robyn's latest single "When The Sun Sets" - playing solo it was always going to be a lot of energy to generate, but she managed with some aplomb - the audience playing their part in the section where Robyn just picks out phrases from the chorus.
All in all it was a highly successful Buckle & Boots debut, Robyn possesses a powerful weapon in her voice and it will be interesting to see in a longer set how she'll adapt that to quieter based material to give light and shade to a performance. For this six song set, she more than justified our recommendation of being one to watch.