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A balancing act in the Black Box

Any years ago, before the advent of pretty boy pop and bootylicious R’n’B divas, the British music scene made room for a more homely brand of pop star, among whom could be included the late Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, and one Eric Goulden, aka Wreckless Eric.

Best known for the anthemic Whole Wide World (1977), Wreckless has had a typically precarious rock ‘n’ roll trajectory before landing with his current project alongside his American wife and songwriting partner Amy Rigby.

Saturday night at the Black Box turned out to be a relative triumph over the twin adversities of Eric's laryngitis and and an over-conversational audience.

While Eric initially, and often fairly directly, addressed the latter problem, Amy Rigby took the vocal strain, and proved herself to be an enjoyable melange of 1960s girl group and Martha Wainwright on songs like Coming back to Life.

Gradually the great songs started to emerge, the Estuary French of Reconnez Cherie, a spectral Final Taxi aided by the Wreckless croak, and eventually Whole Wide World, one of rock music's great two chord tricks.

Towards the end of the gig there was a real sense of the duo emerging out of the fog.

Michael Conaghan

Belfast Telegraph