Square Chapel, Halifax
Former Lindisfarne hitman Rod Clements praised Halifax’s Square Chapel for its innovative and intimate setting as he thrilled an audience with songs from a catalogue spanning over 40 years.
Paying homage to performers like Duane Eddy and Joe Brown who influenced his early career, he talked affectionately about the Tyneside folk scene where his musical roots were forged.
Clements’s inspiration stems from diverse sources including the Hoover Dam building project and the potential perils of buying a classic car.
More predictably, some songs reflect childhood memories of coal-mining communities and the slagheap landscapes of his northeast homeland. But all his songs remain strongly topical.
An accomplished performer, Clements thoughtfully blends the old with the new. In self-deprecating style, he gently boasts he was no one-hit wonder with Meet Me on the Corner; recalling how Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong ‘rocketed into the top 40 – before rocketing out the following week!’
Stopping frequently to sip bottled water and retune his strings, Clements stares imperiously over spectacles to talk about the heady days and hard days of his musical pilgrimage.
By the end of the night we had witnessed an acoustic string masterclass – with Clements himself acknowledging former guitar greats who influenced his rich, complex style. His mesmerising slide technique ran through a number of songs, notably Rambling Will Be The Death Of Me, Kingdom Come and Stamping Ground.
Rod Clements is a pedigree performer who deserves to be placed at the pinnacle of the blues/folk music scene.