Thanks to Kickass_Reena

There he stood, a gaunt bushy haired man, more beard than face, guitar strapped around him as if to protect him from the outside world. I instantly felt like taking him home and cooking him up a wholesome Irish stew. But there’s nothing helpless about Ray LaMontagne the second he opens his mouth, that voice!

Many might try by means of decades of whiskey consumption, sleep deprivation and nicotine inhalation, but a voice like Ray’s is hard to come by. Paradiso was clearly mesmerised by his a spine tingling combination of delicate mumblings and raw raspy outcries last Saturday, his second sold out gig there within a week.

He openend with the appropriately stomping Henry Nearly Killed Me (It’s A Shame), perfect to get the crowd going. Just a shame it was a predominantly seated conert, unnecessary as far as I’m concerned. In the course of the evening we were treated to gems like Hold You In My Arms, I Still Care For you, Shelter, Let It Be Me and the crowd favourite for set closer: You Are The Best Thing. The lighter moments in the set like Meg White and Hey Me, Hey Mama also worked really well.

Personal highlights would have to be the gut wrenching Jolene, the beautifully melancholy Empty, the upliftingly hopeful Trouble and the solo acoustic performance of Burn, whose last words echoed in my mind long after: “I will stand here and burn in my skin”.

For me, the songs from his first album Trouble are the ones that cut straight through you, with those rambling man lyrics best suited to his amazing voice. But the whole concert was very enjoyable and there were only one or two songs where my mind wandered off a bit. The rest of the hour and a half set I was completely hooked on the man standing on the Persian rug, singing right to me with his eyes closed.