Review: Hope & Social, Ripon Amateur Operatic Hall
When a band is described as “one of the top live bands in the country” that is quite a reputation to live up to. Hope & Social managed do just that when they played The Ripon Amateur Operatic Society Hall for Ripon Live Music.
The intimate gig for 120 so suited the band, they immediately broke down any band/audience barriers and had the capacity crowd in the palm of their hands from the very start.
The first song of the set was Simon Wainwright, fronting the band, singing the sensitive, gentle and reflective Ripples Rock my Boat which built to an amazing climax with Rich Huxley on lead guitar and Ed Waring on keyboards pulling out all stops.
They built on this powerful start with material from their entire career right up to the very newly released Yorkshire Electric digital EP.
They were happy to banter with the audience and respond to some of the many requests whilst plainly having so much on-stage interaction and fun. Their rapport with the audience was obvious when the entire bend left the stage and led a conga around the hall whilst still playing.
After two hours of unflagging energy the band launched into an all-time favourite Red Red Rose giving the audience one last chance to sing along and dance, then suddenly they gave Fletch on bass the spotlight to lead the rest of the band into Talking Head’s Once In a Lifetime before finally leaving the stage to tumultuous applause and a totally satisfied smiling audience.
Ever quirky and hugely talented Hope & Social once again won the hearts of Ripon music lovers - and a few who had come from much further afield.
The next musical treat from Ripon Live promoters will be The Buffalo Skinners who return to play the Golden Lion on March 17.
To follow on May 11 will be the hugely popular Gary Stewart’s Graceland band.