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The Urban Voodoo Machine at the Robin 2, Bilston.

The audacious Urban Voodoo Machine returned to the Robin 2 to share their brand of irreverent Gypsy rock’n’roll on a miserable night in Bilston.

Before we heard from Paul-Ronney Angel and his cohorts we had a few songs from local blues/rockabilly band Dark Circus. Fronted by the imposing Bella Raye, who can certainly crank out the vocals, this 3-piece band put in a very decent performance. With a change in the line-up has come a change in presentation of the songs with some of them stripped back to almost bare bones. In most cases this has made little difference but to one or two of the songs they seemed less rounded without the double bass and drums that were previously a part of the set-up. Nevertheless, the trio produced some strong songs and Bella Raye’s vocals are the standout characteristic, melodic at times, raucous at others; a fine opener for the Urban Voodoo Machine.

One new face amongst a sea of familiar faces sees the return of the Urban Voodoo Machine to Bilston and at the front as usual is the acerbic Paul-Ronney Angel .

The walk on is to a funerary dirge following which the band launch into the trumpet-laden speakeasy sound of High Jeopardy Thing from In Black ‘n’ Red before coming right up to date with Fallen Brothers, a song dedicated to lost loved ones, in this case including Nick Marsh and Robb Skipper. What starts out like another funeral dirge picks up the pace to finish at breakneck speed.

Cheers for the Tears comes next followed by a couple of songs from Love, Drink & Death including Not With You and then Train Wreck Blues, cue harmonica…..

A quick trip to the band’s first album for Orphans Lament before P-R starts to reminisce and tells the story of a previous visit to the Robin 2. P-R is a stickler for audience non-conversation during songs, particularly if it takes place right in front of him. He recalled two chaps standing by the stage chatting, quite loudly, for some time before Mr. Angel cut in to tell them that their conversation was louder than his vocals and that if they wanted to continue talking to fuck off outside….they fucked off, not to be seen again that evening. Crazy Maria, that’s a song not  person, from Love, Drink & Death made an appearance, as did Let You Rot from the most recent album, Hellbound Hymns. Time to slow things down again with Goodnight my Dear, a Tom Waits-esque song and another reminder of the loss of the brilliant Nick Marsh.

We’re heading for the finishing line with two more from Hellbound Hearts, Rusty Water & Coffin Nails followed by While we Were all Asleep before the set closes with Help me Jesus and finally Goodbye to Another Year.

Throughout the evening P-R was ably supported by the lunacy that is Slim Cyder, Gary Voodoo, the late J Roni Moe, Tony Diavolo, Luci Fire Tusk, the Reverend Gavin Smith and last, but not least, the new kid on the block with no name.

Tea break over, time for a quick encore. The perennial favourite, Pipe & Slippers Man made way for the closer, I’ll Fly Away as the band say goodbye to the Black Country fans til next year.  Another brilliantly entertaining show from the UVM, can’t wait for the next one. My souvenir from the evening was a plastic skeleton’s foot which somehow managed to drop off the skeleton and onto the floor!

The band have also released a new single, January Blues, visit the website for more details: www.theurbanvoodoomachine.com

Words & pics: Reg Richardson

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