LIVE: Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors – Cambridge Portland Arms 02/03/2017
“Did somebody just get thrown out of here a few minutes ago for making out?”
As far as opening gig gambits go, it’s definitely not one of the usual ones (for the record – yes, they kind of did but that’s a whole story for another time altogether) but it sets the tone nicely for this evening. After a good run of dates supporting Ginger Wildheart last year and a well-received new album The Devil’s In The Detail, the week or so leading up to tonight (the tour’s penultimate gig) has seen Ryan Hamilton return to these shores for an acoustic tour. Or, given that he’s with a full band tonight, maybe we should call it semi-unplugged.
Either way though, it’s a good showcase for the man’s material both from the new album and its predecessor, 2015’s Hell Of A Day. Songs like We Never Should Have Moved To LA, Karaoke With No Crowd and Be Kind Rewind are the sort of earworms that’ll happily bury themselves in your head for days while the more reflective likes of Cheaters Never Change (given an added poignancy by Hamilton explaining the messy break-up of his previous two bands Smile Smile and People On Vacation) and the ode to realising you’re not as young as you used to be Smarter show an added depth to the guy’s songwriting.
Hamilton also comes across as a down to earth and likeable guy onstage, sharing jokes with the audience and explaining the backgrounds to the songs. By the time the set comes to an end with Freak Flag, current (and recently playlisted on national radio) single Heavy Heart and a cowpunk style run through Ode To The Idiots, he’s more than won this crowd over, and you suspect that plenty of them will be back on the next tour as well. You should probably join them too ‘cos this was a damn good night out.
Words by Andy Close, photo by Kazza.