Let me tell you some things that you may not know about Billy Rowan AKA The Undercover Hippy:
He led the crowdfunding campaign for a shop in The Gambia
His lyrics have had more impact upon my shopping ethics than reading the Guardian for 20 years.
His performance at Chagstock was a key landmark in my journey to falling in love with my girlfriend.
He is truly a man of the people and absolutely in touch with his fans.
He encourages his fans to sell his merch for him and often puts calls out for volunteers to provide the band with a bed for the night after a gig.
He practices what he preaches and only sells merch that comes from organically grown cotton.
Billy always wows the crowd, I’ve had the privilege of selling his merchandise at many venues South of Bristol and his razor sharp performance always hits the spot. The gig in Bideford was no exception. The Palladium Club is an excellent venue, having been saved from extinction by the new owner and former barman who performed a small miracle to keep the club going with next to no notice and has managed to honour all this Autumn’s gigs. I commend it to you as an all round excellent party venue with a great taste in music.
The Undercover Hippy has produced two Albums thus far, Monkey Suit which was followed by the release of Truth and Fiction this summer. The band play the highlights of both albums, kicking off with "Going to the Gambia". In the middle of the set came the group choral singing session with Billy leading the crowd in the chorus from "Borders" followed soon by splitting the capacity crowd so that Billy could judge which half was singing the chorus of "Long Way Down" louder than the other. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance of "Mate Like That" and "Bristol Peeps", both tracks charting the chemical excesses of youthful high jinks.
Without doubt one of the highlights of any Undercover Hippy Gig is the full crowd participation performance of "Boyfriend", which is as funny as it is cleverly observed. Billy has been kind enough to produce a youtube video of Boyfriend (see below) with the lyrics included so that you can learn it and sing along and nail the line at the end….”6 kids and a dog…” Trust me….its worth it to be able to join in.
The finale, as ever, is the finest of all Undercover Hippy tracks: "Last Chance to Dance". The crowd go bananas, everyone is dancing “like a man possessed…... like a woman with no pride…. in a pool of sweat deep enough to drown your cat.” Until at the end, Billy and the band pose for a selfie with the crowd. Without doubt everyone is beaming. They always are!
The Undercover Hippy always produce an outstanding performance, but the part that moves me most, is watching Billy come out straight after his performance to meet every fan, to pose for selfies and sign CDs. His music is awesome, he has the voice of an angel and his heart is true. He is touring all points of the UK this autumn. Why not treat yourself... go and enjoy… and make sure you stay for the crowd selfie at the end!
See you in Bristol on the 24th November….I’ll be the big bald guy selling the merch……...
Review by Pete Yeomans