George Paul reviews Sinnerboy at the Limelight Theatre
Since promoting his first tribute concert to the late Rory Gallagher back in 1996, Sinnerboy's frontman Barry Barnes had led the band all over the world to pay homage to the Irish blues rock star, headlining concerts as far afield as the USA. Sinnerboy are no mere imitation, they capture the soul of Rory's music and deliver their own inspired performance, which in Dónal Gallagher's own words is "proof that my brother's music lives on". With such high praise even from Rory's family, it's easy to see why Sinnerboy is regarded as one of the world's greatest tributes to the Irishman.
An intimate venue with a capacity of just over one hundred, the Limelight Theatre would've been just how Rory himself would've liked it, claiming the best audiences were where he could see the whites of their eyes. There were no setlists here, instead the band respond to cries from the crowd to play their favourite songs. This is further testament to the band's love and passion, and mastery of Rory's music, any song you could think of they knew it inside and out, and played with astounding accuracy. Coupled with Barry's powerful vocals this made for a superb performance made even more intimate by walking amongst the crowd while playing, much to the delight of the devoted fans. From the low and slow 'Catfish', to the upbeat 'In Your Town', the spirit of the performance never wavered, nor the captivation of the hundred or so concertgoers.
As if there wasn't enough energy on stage already, the last few songs saw a return appearance from Brazilian musician Big Gilson who opened the night as support act, sparking several guitar solo battles between him and Barry, each earning huge waves of applause and cheers from the audience. Rory fan or not, the energy of Sinnerboy's performance compelled all in the venue to get involved and sing along. A well-deserved standing ovation ended the night, an enthralling performance worthy of the title of one of the greatest Rory Gallagher tributes that the man himself would be proud of.
* The concert took place on November 17. Visit www.sinnerboy.co.uk for future tour dates.