Having met for the first time when Lane supported the Nashville In The Round tour last September, which featured Armstrong along with Sarah Darling and Jenn Bostic, the two have teamed up for a joint headline tour of the UK. Dubbed The United Tour, this was Lane's first headline tour, and it was only Armstrong's second time playing in the UK. While their friendship may be in its relative infancy, the two exude such comfort appearing together, that it feels like they much have been playing together for years.
The first half of the Maidenhead gig featured Robert Lane performing songs from his self-titled first album, as well as the 2016 short release follow up, Ends and Starts. Lane is a charismatic presence on stage, engaging with the audience and injecting the odd moment of levity into the event. While that levity doesn't always make it into his music (there aren't a lot of laughs in songs such as Break My Heart Blues), his music never fails to draw you in.
Vocally at times he sounds similar to Paul Heaton of Housemartins and Beautiful South fame, which makes a song like Teardrop Tattoo (about a man killing the first person he sees) especially unsettling. Lost But I Can't Care was perhaps the pick of the opening section, taken from his first album, for which there is a great video on Youtube featuring some suitable rainy Birmingham locations. He also treated us to a very good cover version of For No One by the Beatles, before breaking out his forthcoming single, Right By My Side, which is available for pre-order on iTunes. This was the undoubted highlight of his set, and if there is any justice, the single should do very well indeed.
After a couple of crowd pleasing sing-a-long tracks, including One Of Those Guys for which he was joined on stage by Kyshona Armstrong, it was time for the interval. Lane stayed on briefly to perform with Kyshona, before leaving the stage to her. Like Lane, Kyshona Armstrong is a warm and engaging presence who likes a level of interaction with the audience. It was a rare song that she didn't have the audience singing along with her.
Armstrong has one of the best voices in the business, full of heart and soul. To call her performance captivating would be an understatement, with songs such as On The Line and Burdens Down really drawing in the audience. There was also time for the beautifully haunting Exorcist, written with Jenn Bostic who has been playing the same song as Haunting Me. We got to hear Mistakes, co-written with the up and coming Jess Nolan, and Lonely, before moving on to the powerful Do Nothing (from the quote attributed to Aristotle), Same Blood, and Love Has Got Me Here.
Robert Lane then re-joined his co-headliner for a couple of encore songs, A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke, and To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees. Both were stunningly good, especially the former, and were enough to make me wish that these two would collaborate on a record. They clearly work very well together, and they complement each other musically perfectly.
Hopefully at the very least these two will tour together again, and when they do, I'll be first in line for a ticket.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
Are you able to help us and the artist you're seeing out by dropping us a review once you get back home, and maybe even a picture. If you are able to help, Mail Us your review and we'll get it up as quick as we can
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session