Arts Review: Rally & Broad: Once More, With Feeling!

June 19 2016, Stereo

For the last year or so, I’ve been meaning to attend a Rally & Broad event. So when I found out that their last everevent was imminent, I was fairly disappointed, and promptly resolved to go. Rally & Broad are, in case you don’t know, Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum, and their spoken word, musical and lyrical cabarets have been delighting Glasgow and Edinburgh audiences for four years.

rally and broad
Image credit: Rally & Broad

The venue was suitably packed, as befits an act of such popularity, and littered with devoted fans, occasional attendees and a few people like me – feeling a bit guilty that they hadn’t managed to make it along to one before now.

Singer-songwriter Roseanne Reid opened the show with her evocative, folky lyrics accompanied by a guitar – reminiscent of a grittier kind of country music that is redolent with an authentic emotionality. She was followed by poet Colin McGuire, whose energetic delivery strengthened the impact of his witty, satirical creations. Poet Georgia Bartlett McNeill especially stood out with her lyrical inventions, and critically acclaimed author A.L. Kennedy took to the stage next with a reading from her new novel Serious Sweet. Although I found Kennedy’s prose to be too rambling on occasion – a style that would perhaps translate better to the written page – the plot definitely intrigues. Final act A New International proved a fitting, almost romantic end to a successful four years with their sweeping musicality and original interpretation of musical style.

Although tears and clever gift-bags abounded – why didn’t I buy a raffle ticket? – I was impressed with the sincere sense of loyalty that Jenny and Rachel seem to have inspired in their regular attendees, and more than a bit sad that I won’t have the opportunity to become part of the fun on a more regular basis. Because more than each of the acts themselves, the premise of Rally & Broad is exciting and one that I thoroughly enjoyed: the deft mixing of different styles and genres, the anticipation before each act, the hope of discovering someone genuinely talented and, above all, the platform that the duo provide to emerging performers which will certainly be sorely missed.

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