Live | Hurray For The Riff Raff @ The Globe, Cardiff

Much is made of Hurray For The Riff Raff frontwoman Alyssa Lee Segarra’s unusual coming of age story. Leaving her Bronx home at 17, she freight-hopped her way to California and travelled around the USA playing music for several years before winding up in New Orleans, her adopted home. She is a phenomenal performer with an easygoing and confident connection to a crowd watching her and the band make music.

At The Globe this performance ability was not lost on the audience and a mixture of old and new songs, with a couple of well-placed covers, won the diverse crowd over.
Making the most of current album, Small Town Heroes, Segarra led her band in renditions of ‘End of the Line’, ‘Blue Ridge Mountain’ and a powerful performance of ‘The Body Electric’ that stunned with its poignancy and hit the mark as a “plea for peace”.

A welcome addition to the line-up was an electric organ that added a depth and a 1960s feel to ‘Leave on a String’ and several new tracks.
Ending the set with some older songs that included ‘Daniella’, featured on HBO’s Treme, and ‘Look Out Mama’ (“one of my happier songs,” said Segarra), she paid tribute to her wide-ranging influences; Woody Guthrie, John Prine and Lucinda Williams before a brilliant cover of Williams’ ‘People Talkin’.

Hurray For The Riff Raff promised a new album in the winter, and it’s fair to say that anyone who has seen them on tour this week will be waiting with bated breath.

Words: Alice Turner