Credit where credit is due, the Urban Voodoo Machine must have played Swansea about a dozen times in the last decade in various venues across the city but the last three or four have been in The Bunkhouse which is where they’ve found their spiritual home. A spruced-up venue that is much better for it as well seems like the spiritual home of The Urban Voodoo Machine. With the stage raised some three feet so everyone gets a great view of this twelve-plus-legged band of Rock Bop n Stroll Gypsies led by the born frontman Paul Ronney Angel tonight they are slimmed down to just six members which if my memory serves me well is the lightest I’ve ever seen them with Paul Ronney taking the sole guitarist role. It matters not how many members to be fir because the songs are readjusted to suit however many be it a one-man band or the full ensemble with brass and strings galore.

The night began with the biggest audience gathered for the band so word must be spreading. After the customary intro of the band marching through the audience to the stage it was away we go. ‘Empty Plastic Cup’ begins the fiesta lifted from the latest album ‘Snake Oil Engine’ which eventually landed on vinyl but it’s well worth the wait that’s for sure. Now I’ve done three shows this week and this was the last of the week and with a chest infection I was pretty much running on fumes at this point but if anyone could lift my spirits it was always going to be the mighty Voodoo Machine. After the rampant ‘Living In Fear’ we reached ‘Fallen Brothers’ of which there have been a few from the ranks of The UVM tonight it would have been Trixie Tassle’s birthday so I raised a glass of Irn Bru to her and the other fallen brothers for a magnificent run through the ‘Hellbound Hymns’ magic moment. You could have heard a pin drop and that was after Paul Ronney had introduced the uninitiated to the rules of the evening and the shut the fuck up and listen to the band moments between songs. Tonight the audience was pretty much respectful of this most non-negotiable rule at UVM shows with only a few outbreaks of chatter.

‘Cheers For The Tears’ was rampant and an emotional ‘Goodnight My Dear’ was immaculate. This stripped-down Urban Voodoo Machine were on fire and delivering one of the best shows I’ve seen them play (and I’ve seen them plenty of times over the years). As the band briefly expanded to seven with the inclusion of Robin Blake on trumpet for a few tunes. The band ran through ‘While We Were All Asleep’, ‘Help Me Jesus’ where the drummers Gary and The Late J-Roni-Moe were on fire turning in mesmerising performances, Its always hard to know who to watch with so much going on all the time on the stage. Finishing with a near-perfect rendition of ‘Goodbye To Another Year’ and we were done. The Bunkhouse had once again been supremely entertained, with one of the best performances from a band who never let you down no matter what and when they are on fire you can just feel it. I think the band knew this had been an exceptional night it was in the air. Hell, Paul Ronney tripped over the drum riser, Bumped his head walking off the stage, Waved the rubber fist in the air, was thrown off kilter with chants of oggy oggy oggy and then returned to the stage with Slim to run through an acoustic performance of ‘Green Green Grass Of Home’ tonight dedicated to his father who passed away last year. It might have had other members of the band perform but the stage power was blown that’s how good Urban Voodoo Machine are they blow the grid.

Can we do this again, please? What a wonderful night of Bourbon-soaked Gypsy, Blues Bop N Stroll that was. If you do get the chance to see this band then do so I urge you, you might wait a long time to see another band this good.

Author: Dom Daley

Paul Ronney Angel Bandcamp

Urban Voodoo Machine Website