This Raintown article was written by Kieran Stowell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Lead photo by @badfalcon
It had only been a few days since the release of their second album; “Writing On The Wall” yet Raintown were not just going to hang around and wait for the public to catch onto their unique blend of pop and country.
Cramming everything they own in a small van, husband and wife duo, Clare and Paul Bain and their talented band began their tour of the UK to promote the new record. Bristol was only their second stop on their tour after a successful gig in Wolverhampton the night before.
Hidden underneath Bristol Temple Meads train station, The Tunnels is a small and secluded gem of a music venue. However on that evening there wasn’t very much in terms of a crowd, instead there was a handful of people who were clearly dedicated fans of the band and made sure they were as close to the stage as possible. They were also the ones who gave the loudest applause when guitarist, Stevie Townsend and the other instrumentalists of Raintown graced the stage with their presence.
Well-rehearsed and in perfect synchronisation, the three musicians wasted no time getting the show started, opening with riff that sounds like it came straight from the soundtrack of Nashville. Then, vocalists Paul and Clare energetically hopped onto the stage, instantly bringing life to the room. What’s was truly interesting about watching the vocal performances of the couple was that separately they sound very different.
Clare clearly takes influence from pop artists such as LeAnn Rimes, while Paul’s voice is a closer fit to the band’s Americana sound as he blends the likes of Gavin Degraw and Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s hard to imagine the two voices working together so well, and yet when they share the microphone, it becomes hard to imagine anyone so perfectly matched.
This became even more apparent during the more intimate part of the set which stripped the band of its full country sound and dedicated itself to its acoustic sound. This part was not only a great demonstration of Clare and Paul’s vocal abilities but the sheer musicianship of the rest of the band. Standing together the two guitarists Stevie Townsend and Scott Pooley had the room in silence entranced by their musical accompaniment on the sweet love song ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough.’ ‘I’ll See You Again’ is a heart wrenching dedication to Paul’s late grandmother and as he tapped into the emotion that was present at time of writing, it resonated across the room, leaving every member of the audience broken hearted. Moments like this really stood out during the show as it offered something completely different and unique to what the band had demonstrated previously.
To put it politely Raintown brought something new to the country/pop genre and while it was engaging at first, some tracks failed to stand out instead just sounding like an extension of a track they’d played previously. That being said, the band ramped up the intensity during the final part of their set, beginning with a spectacular cover of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ closely followed by instant crowd pleaser ‘Shut The Front Door’ a tune which almost acted as a magnet drawing those who’d been sat at the back of the room to gathered at the front and join in excitement.
On a final note the band were incredibly humble and decided to stay behind after the show to meet and greet everyone who had come to see them, which is particularly nice considering most bands prefer to leave via a back entrance.