Live Review: River City People, The Marquee, 20th March, 1990

Here I am once more at the Marquee and I've come to see River City People mainly on the strength of a video on The Chart Show, and with a singer as attractive as this, what more incentive do I need?

The single featured on the above show is called Walking On Ice. It's an irresistible pop/rock melody with singer Siobhan Mather's soothing and seductive vocals making an instant impression.

Inside, it's hardly packed but there is still a sizeable turnout and it's a very mixed crowd in contrast to the usual heaving throng of out-and-out rockers. Under the Rainbow has class stamped all over it, and Siobhan's breathy vocal compliments the driving beat and sense of urgency. The band look assured and Siobhan appears relaxed and is resplendent in a flowing dress and Spanish bolero hat. True, the band are still developing their stagecraft and there's very little in-between song chat from Siobhan. Despite this she has an understated charm that wins the crowd over.

Say Something Good is an uplifting crowd mover that touches on contemporary Celtic rock, especially with lyrics like "Mountain high, pure white snow, waterfall." I can feel another comparison coming the same vein as Dublin's In Tua Nua.

Other highlights are Thirsty, which is tough and robust, and sung with real conviction. They encore no less than three times, and such was the crowd's rapturous response that it could have been more. I especially liked their lively and convincing version of the flower child 60s anthems California Dreaming by The Mamas and the Papas.

River City People don't exactly fit easily into a convenient musical category. But let's just say that they're a classy modern rock band somewhere between the Americanized AOR of Heart and the Celtic rock of In Tua Nua. However, like all quality bands they are more than capable of establishing their identity. They may not be this week's hipsters but I'm confident they will attract a healthy and loyal following!

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
May 1990
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