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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

C2C 2023: Drake Milligan - After Show All Bar One


Rarely, if ever, have we seen the rest of #TEAMw21 emerge from the Indigo raving about a performance like they did after having seen Drake Milligan - and with terms like "Young Elvis" being bandied around, it was our duty to forego a few hours sleep and report on his After Party show at All Bar One. If truth be told the All Bar One after party shows are almost always the best shows of the whole C2C event - they are always a little more relaxed with a drink or two normally having been imbibed and the crowd is either giddy from having exited the Main Arena or after a couple of hours break, in need of their next Country music fix.


We should probably nail the "Young Elvis" tag first - It does not imply any sort of imitation - this is no impersonator it is more the mannerisms, the moves, the excitement generated that recall a bygone era. That sense of excitement tonight is immediately generated by a rapid drum beat, followed by a fiddle befroe Drake himself runs on to the stage and rips into "Sounds Like Something I'd Do". He is able to generate excitement with the merest shift of an eyebrow or the flick of his head and with his guiitar played while held out in front of him - the crowd were putty in his hands.







It is fair to say there was something akin to mayhem breaking out, the audience were full of smiles, the band suitably rawkus as they ripped into a cover of Travis Tritt's T-R-O-U-B-L-E. The band every bit as madcap as Drake himself especially the fiddle player who could be found twirling his bow mid song or as in this song providing a rip roaring solo. The music veered between Country and Rock 'n' Roll and left little room for stragglers, you just had to keep up as one cracking song followed another. It was an all out assault on the senses as you tried to both take in what you were seeing and absorb what you were hearing.


Even when things slowed a little for the Midland style country song of "Over Drinking' Under Thinkin'" there was an immediately accessible groove, with a glorious mix of guitar and fiddle providing great backing for Drake. At this point Drake put away his guitar. and took the mircrophone in his hand for "Hating Everything She Tries On", for this song the fiddle player had his bow between his teeth while he played his fiddle with his hand.



A rock 'n' roll treat followed with Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes" running into Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" - we are so far removed from when these were originally released that it has always been difficult to imagine the sheer excitement that would have been generated on first hearing them - until now - In this hot sweaty little bar, they were reborn and sprung back into life. By now Drake was drenched in sweat such was the effort being poured into the show - "Going Down Swinging" managed to be both ridiculously retro and yet equally alive and vibrant, full of shoulder shrugs!


There was one song that was perhaps a little different from the rest, possibly through being slower and that was "Cowboy Kind Of Way" - it showed another side to Drake as he adopted a Chris Isaak style, slower, deeper delivery as he sang


"I'll swing you round - I'll lay you down"


It was definitely another side and one that naturally he does equally as well

The home straight saw the romp that is the "Long Haul" - all out rock n roll country driven along with a driving drum and bass sound as well as telling fiddle and electric guitar contributions - let alone Drake's singing.. The main set closed with "Kiss Goodbye All Night" complete with its own knowing lines


"One for the money honey

Two for the road

I'm a long way from ready to go"


As the band finish off the song Drake leaves the stage and with no curtain to cover him we can see him amazingly standing there looking cool as a cucumber and while the crowd roar for him to return - he sips a drink, has a quick chat before returning to the stage turning it all back on and becoming stage Drake once more.


The encore of "Bad Day To Be A Beer" sends us off safel into the night knowing that something special has been witnessed and for a change it us and not Elvis that has left the building!















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