Live Review: Roe / Bigfatbig / Salsola – Student Union, Middlesbrough 04.02.2023

The magnificent Roe had played Middlesbrough previously as a solo act but tonight she returned with a full band to support her new album ‘That’s When The Panic Sets In’. Thanks to promoter The Kids Are Solid Gold for bringing her to Boro with support from Bigfatbig and Salsola

It had been a while since Salsola had last gigged not that you would guess, their unique blend of jazz-infused indie was quite refreshing. The smooth guitar licks and lyrical bass playing had the small audience raptured. Singer Vicky Wright brings a lot to the stage delivering her vocals in smooth soulful waves before ramping up when the tracks required.

Highlight was the track ‘Bones’ featuring a mid track jam with the drummer taking the limelight with cowbell and snare drum trickery. Single ‘Seekers’ also got an airing, a throbbing bass driven track with a great vocal performance. There’s no getting away from the effortless melodic soloing from the bands lead guitarist.

Bigfatbig brought the energy tonight and woke the crowd up with their bright, energetic headbanging pop. Lead singer Robyn looks every inch a pop queen with bright red hair and breathless vocals from her manic performance. Can’t say these guys don’t bring their A-game. Ryan on bass keeps the music grounded with some great backing vocals and standing as the backbone to the girls energy. Katy on guitar was a little tornado on stage left thrashing the guitar chords and screaming the lyrics out. This is a band who are passionate about what they have to say. The lead single from bands recent EP ‘Shut Up’ hit the spot tonight and was the track I was singing the whole of the next day.

Headliner Roe took to the stage with little ceremony surprising the audience as the first track rang out. Rose delivers some surprising power from the tiny demure stage presence when engaging with the audience. An apologetic soul with one hell of a voice that sparkled on many a track. ‘I Can Change’ showed Roe’s quality as a songwriter even though the power of her vocals was lost in the hipped up indie storm from the band. Track ‘New Behaviours’ is catchy lyrical genius as is the piano led ‘Room To breathe’ where Roe really shines.

Switching to keyboards for a more intimate feel on tracks ‘One In A Million’, ‘Cold Feet’ and ‘Kidding Yourself, akin to Roe’s first visit to Boro when she had no band behind her. The simple thing is after a night like this, you just can’t help but fall in love with Roe and her music.

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