Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts - Voodoo Rooms - Edinburgh - 11/10/18 - A. Main

My life literally changed in a matter of minutes when I was seven years old.
One minute David Bowie didn't exist in my world, and then with his now legendary Starman performance being repeated on a Top of the Pops Christmas Special he did.
This living breathing godlike gender trashing alien crash landed into my consciousness and nothing was ever going to be the same again.

I didn't really understand what had happened, and it was only as the years past that in hindsight I was able to pinpoint that moment as the one where in a sense my tiny little brain was rewired.
There was a pre-Bowie life that was like every other seven year olds, and a post Bowie life in which I started seriously forming my own tastes in music and began being a smart arse that questioned everything, and I mean everything..

Then I had another seismic shift when I was thirteen and this time I am blaming it on Bon Scott.
After a few aborted attempts at going to see bands live I had finally scrapped together enough cash, and secured grudging parental permission, to go and see AC/DC.
My first proper gig, and they blew my mind. Seeing these guys with Bon at the helm felt like sticking your fingers into a plug, and I loved that.
I realised that for a period of time live music could take you out of your life. It was as if I'd been introduced to a powerful drug and I was instantly craving more of the same, and I've certainly indulged.

If live music was cocaine then I left Aerosmith behind in a cloud of powder a long time ago.

That was just shy of forty years ago and I've probably averaged a gig a week since then.

Add in festivals attended and I've seen literally thousands of bands.

And yet a few months ago something changed.

I started to question if I was getting the same thrill, and the honest answer was no. Something was missing. Something in me. The buzz was gone.
I don't know why that was, and while I still enjoyed a live performance they just weren't providing the same high that I had grown accustomed to.
The build up of excitement didn't feel the same, my engagement with the performance was likewise dampened, and there was no real urge after a gig to make sure I had another fix on the horizon to look forward to.

In a way I think that on some level I was mourning losing this part of my life.

And while I was internally questioning why all this was happening, and wondering if this love affair with music was coming to an end and I would have to say "it's not you, it's me" as I waved goodbye to it all, along came Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts and blind-sided me with a reminder of everything that I was going to miss out on if I threw the towel in.

With a name change, a record deal, an expanded band, a single out, another album being recorded, and lots more positives going on for them at the moment, their performance in the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh seemed so much like catching them at the right place at the right time.

I've seen them number of times, and recently travelled to Manchester to see Ryan perform with Tony Wright of Terrorvision, but this time it felt different. While each gig has been incrementally better than the one before, this one felt like the one small step forward approach had been cast aside and replaced with a giant leap.

In this tiny room something special was certainly happening. All that country rock and power pop was colliding like smashing atoms.

It's not any one thing that you could put your finger on to explain why it was so good, and there's certainly not one singular positive that could be highlighted among the many to explain it either, but instead it was rather all about a stars aligning moment, a moment when all the hard work, the prayers, the experience, and of course a bunch of talented individuals, had come together as one with everything ultimately clicking into place.

And I am thankful that I was there to see it in all its glory. Very thankful.

We sang, we danced, we laughed, we cheered and freely applauded, and that is as it should be.

This experience was quite literally everything that I was missing.

I missed live music pulling me out of the trials and tribulations of my life, of getting dragged away from the mundane, and being thrust into the midst of something that felt special. I missed the rush of the communal camaraderie that exists in a crowd at a good show, the symbiotic moment when the band and audience join together to create a small world that only exists for us all in that time and space.
And this show reminded me that this chapter of my life isn't over, and it also that there are moments of magic in life. Real magic when the heart rules the head and everything seems possible.

So to all the music makers, the dream weavers, again I thank you, and in particular thank you to Ryan and the Harlequin Ghosts. A special thank you for nudging me back on track.

You're in good company with David Bowie and Bon Scott.

Here's to the next chapter.

Website - www.ryanhamiltonmusic.com