It’s been a busy December for Bill Ryder-Jones and Saint Saviour, having played 9 shows in 12 nights up and down the UK. The tour had created plenty of positive vibes along the way, so a much anticipated ‘last leg’ was a great opportunity to finish on a high.
For the duration of the circuit, the two acts had varied the role of headline performer. With Liverpool being somewhat of a homecoming for Bill, it was Saint Saviour who got the ball rolling.
Accompanied by Bill’s drummer Jack Prince, a pair of Swiss backing singers, a quartet of strings from the Manchester Camerata Orchestra and Bill himself, Saint Saviour went about a quite lovely set. Her new single ‘Let It Go’ as well as ‘Sad Kid’ and the evocative ‘I remember’ provided personal highlights from a captivating performance.
Following a short break and an opportunity for a top-up of Euro-Lager, Ryder-Jones and Prince returned to the stage with two other band members. The trademark hood was down as they opened with the title track from the 2013 album, ‘A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart’.
Following their opener, Bill commented – “No wonder I’m singing shit, I haven’t got me shield up.” So for the next one (Hanging Song), the hood was restored to it’s more familiar location. ‘There’s A World Between Us’ followed, a further demonstration of just what a talented guitarist he is. A botched first attempt at ‘The Lemon Trees #3’ was promptly halted, with Bill shrieking ‘OH FUCK OFF!” Friendly reassurance from some nearby audience members followed.
Take 2 of ‘The Lemon Trees’ was significantly better, demonstrating why it’s one of the more popular tracks on the album. A great example of storytelling and song writing ability. As a Wirral native myself though, I’m yet to locate the aforementioned Lemon Trees. I’m no horticulturist, but I’m willing to speculate that they’re out of season.
Part way through the show, the rest of the band left the stage for Bill to play a few tracks on his own. He’d joked to the Liverpool Echo in the week “I do a two song break where my band leave the stage and that seems to be where the gig really picks up. I’m not sure why though.” There was clearly a good rapport with Bill and his band as well as with Becky Jones (Saint Saviour), you couldn’t help but get the impression that they’d shared plenty of laughs during the last fortnight.
A new track ‘Seabirds’ was sandwiched by ‘By Morning I’ and ‘He Took You in His Arms’ followed by two more new songs. ‘Catherine and Huskisson’ is named after two streets in Liverpool – a celebration of his fondness of that particular part of the city. The new tracks offering plenty of encouragement for the next album.
‘Anthony & Owen’ was a change of pace and an excellent penultimate song, the gentle intro so delicate. This could be further appreciated, as the nattering uber-blert in front had finally piped down. Riddled with nostalgic reflection, it’s almost a time warp, evoking memories of my own childhood mates on a stormy Wirral day.
Always the Evertonian, Bill left it late to tease the Red half of the audience. With the gig coming to a close,”It’s not over til I say it’s over” he stated, before declaring – “We go again! We do not let this slip!” The band signed off with ‘Wild Swans’.
Both Saint Saviour and Ryder-Jones at separate times expressed their gratitude to one another not only for the tour, but for the production work that Bill has done with Becky. They certainly appear to make a good team.
For Christmas I want bigger hair. And hoods. More hoods.