• Tina Sherwood

Saints Preserve Us! The Rumjacks Hit Town

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

This exclamation echoes the title of the latest Rumjack’s album, adopted from a favourite saying of a former colleague of frontman, Frankie McLaughlin, during his time as a school maintenance engineer.

Photography by Tina Sherwood

Celebrating 10 years together, The Rumjacks is a band eschewing the stereotype of Celtic/Punk in favour of a broader, less genre-defined repertoire. The audience at last night’s Rescue Rooms gig was treated to sharp, choppy Ska chords, seriously heavy Metal riffs via contrasting evocative tones of the tin whistle, which goes some way to explainingwhy the band is a festival favourite . They may be heardplaying alongside juggernauts Megadeth at South American Metal festivities through to tiny cheese festivals in urban Italy! Wherever they play, The Rumjacks are revered!

Here is a band who deserve top flight support, and they certainly got it in the form of Chesterfield’s The Silk Road, who played out of their skins and (deservedly) earned a whole new fan base! The audience quickly embraced their energywhile they gave a fantastic performance to warm up the crowd.

During the evening I met with Rumjack’s main man, Frankie McLaughlin: a man with a delicious timbre hovering somewhere between his native ‘Glasgae’ brogue, yet betraying a touch of ‘Strine’ from years in Australia, where the band was formed. He was generous with his time and thoughts. A natural spokesman. A philosopher. An Everyman, offering so much information, I could write a book!

With musicianship of the highest order, The Rumjacks is a band where, unusually, everyone sings! With his dynamic presence, McLaughlin demands attention from the second the lights go up. He is ‘A Man With A Mission’ – to entertain and, with his lyrics, to inspire thought and consideration from his audience.

The character of bassist, Johnny McKelvey, reminiscent of the great James Hetfield, is a larger than life performer who wants to bring the music to YOU! Guitarist, Gabriel Whitbourne is energetic, exciting and solid; Adam Kenny’s incredible versatility means he changes his stringed instrument with almost every song and, despite being hidden at the back, one cannot help but notice the cheeky persona and absolute precision of drummer, Pietro Della Salla.

Wednesday’s set list brought familiar tunes, igniting the audience as one voice, in turn delighting every member of the band: however, there is no doubt that the standout, eponymous track from the new album, Saints Preserve Us, will be a firm fan favourite for years to come.

The Rumjacks dedicate their all on stage. As Frankie McLaughlin mentioned several times during our meeting, his philosophy that success is incremental based on effort, is embraced by every single member of the band.

One of my top 10 gigs EVER!

All photographs by Tina Sherwood.