Following Joe Bonamassa’s successful tour including two sold out concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall in April 2017, the celebrated blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, is pleased to announce that he will return to the UK in March 2018 to perform seven concerts.
Dates include Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (March 9), Manchester Arena (March 10), Carlisle Sands Centre (March 11), Aberdeen GE Oil & Gas Centre (March 13), Gateshead Sage (March 14), Birmingham GentingArena (March 16) and Brighton Centre (March 17).
The March 2018 UK tour will feature Joe alongside a hand-picked group of world-class musicians playing material from Blues of Desperation, plus classic Bonamassa fan favourites.
Bluesdoodles loved the album “This is the first time Bluesdoodles has given Joe Bonamassa a 10 this is an inspired album that hit my blues-spot. This is a new approach more muted deeper tones, the result a powerful statement an album with direction and purpose.” READ what we said in Full HERE
“I just wish we were standing as this was not music to sit to, as the show drew to the last three numbers Joe, simply signed for the crowded auditorium to stand. We did and then the music became even more scintillating and the energy rose to another level.” – Bluesdoodles
“An excellent set, featuring mostly self-penned compositions, but some covers thrown in including Led Zep’s Boogie with Stu and rock classic Hummingbird, made for a fantastic evening’s entertainment.” – Sheffield Star
“His soloing was, as you would expect,
immaculate and his vocals right on the money.” – Music-News.com
“Bonamassa has tobe heard and seen to be believed.”
– Bristol Post
“The best guitarist on the planet at the very top of his game.” – Liverpool Echo
“Bonamassa’s recorded output has been nothing short of extraordinary – there doesn’t seem to be anything he can’t handle … Hugely impressive.” – Acoustic Magazine
BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
LVR: It’s our pleasure – we’re thrilled to have been put forward for the competition!
BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge. This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?
LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation.
BD: What are the Blues to LaVendore Rogue? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
LVR: A lot of the biggest British Bands in history started off playing Blues but took it somewhere else. Just look at The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin. Nowadays, it seems a lot of UK acts lean towards the heavier Blues Rock side of things, which is perhaps reflective of the US artists who took their influence from the 60’s Blues Boom. Whereas in Mainland Europe there is real wide variety of artists such as the Dawn Brothers or Daniel Norgren who are doing something different, but still with its roots in the blues. Obviously the US is where it all began and it’s good to see that despite the influx of “Blues Rock”, they are still producing artists who take their influences from early American Music, people like Blind Boy Paxton or the Carolina Chocolate Drops and even Mud Morganfield.
BD: Your latest album is A Night In The North, LaVendore Rogue live in a Blues club; tell us a bit about your album and the reaction your interpretation of blues is received by audiences?
LVR: We recorded the album at Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club in January. We didn’t plan on doing so, until 10 minutes before show time, and we’re all really pleased with the result. Joel mixed and mastered the album, and we feel it’s the best thing we’ve done to date. Certainly the most honest.
We were keen to include a cross-section of everything that’s influenced us and that we’ve done, so the album goes from pre-war Blues (“Oh Death” by Charley Patton) to the 60’s British Blues Boom (“Get Off Of My Cloud”, by The Rolling Stones) and includes several Hokie Joint songs too (“Chocolate Cake”, “The Way It Goes…Sometimes”). Oh and obviously there’s some LaVendore Rogue material in there as well. To keep things fresh, there’s also a couple of new songs on the album too.
When we first started as LaVendore Rogue, the reception was mixed, although people generally either love us or hate us. However we’ve worked hard to put together a set that will appeal to lots of people, including ourselves. Songs such as “Chocolate Cake” and “Oh Death” always seem to receive a fantastic reaction, so we’re obviously doing something right when it comes to honouring The Blues.
In our opinion, a lot of the British Blues Scene is leaning more towards rock music more than Blues and songwriting has been replaced with too many guitar solos. Although is good to see a broad spectrum of the blues taking part in the UK challenge.
However our focus is on songwriting and using a song as a way to tell story. At the end of the day, 99% of people go home from a gig singing a chorus, not a guitar solo.
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
LVR: It’s very difficult for a band to gain much profile without a fairly large budget. We feel there are a lot of great undiscovered bands on the British Blues scene that aren’t getting the attention they deserve for one reason or another. In fact, many are far more interesting that some of the bands that are at the top of the ladder. As artists in our thirties we hope to playing for another thirty and perhaps the Blues Federation could play a pivotal role in bringing the blues to a younger generation, perhaps through schools workshops or through making connections in Universities.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
LVR: That’s a tough one…we all have very different tastes in music, in many different genres, so the result could be somewhat catastrophic!
July Arrives with Live Music King King & Bad Touch
The anticipation had been growing day by day as June faded fueled by the release of (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ from the forthcoming King King album Exile & Grace. Having not seen the band we love to follow hear live, six months had past since we welcomed Alan Nimmo, Wayne Proctor, Lindsey Coulson and Bob Fridzema on stage. Before that moment Bad Touch had the task of warming an audience already hot with excitement.
Bad Touch filled the stage with charisma and the driving force of their Southern Rock, Rock n’ Roll energy and panache. With Robert Glendinning back on lead guitar after a short sabbatical, adding his vibe to the quintet, and with the vivacious head of hair on vocals, Stevie Westwood; rhythm guitarist Daniel Seekings and a rhythm section drummer George Drewry & Michael Bailey on Bass they were on top form. This was a set where they may have sung 99% but the energy was off the richter scale they wanted Bristol to have fun tonight. The slide guitar work from Glendinning cemented his role in the band and the interaction with Daniel Seekings had the guitars singing in a disorderly, melodic party of Rock n Roll mayhem. Truth Be Told, the apt title of their latest album, the set was short, no time for small talk as they squeezed in every ounce of energy into the songs, we have heard on Planet Rock and Outlaw, every band should have a cowboy song. The cheers were huge as Bob Fridzema joined in the last night party atmosphere at the Fleece to warm up before the main event. Bad Touch, turn every note into golden southern rock nuggets absolutely modern as they build on retro power; they are back on the road again very soon.
A short break ensued allowing friends to catch up at The Fleece, and then King King stepped on stage the warmth flowed from the band and the crowded venue. King King were back in Bristol and on fine form. We wanted to hear old favourites and be part of the lucky few to hear live the first single to have been released from Exile & Grace; (She Don’t) Gimme No Loving. Tonight they did not disappoint they gave us so much happiness, feeling of joy King King have the knack of pleasing the fans, leave us wanting more always something from the back catalogue we wished they had played. Tonight they were happy to be on stage combined with a raw energy they wanted to play above the expectations of the fans and connect to those hearing the band the first time.
Alan’s smile was broad and genuine, not a showman’s face; with his red kilt , guitar in hand including a blue plaster over a cut finger he made every one welcome to Saturday night at The Fleece.
The set comprised nine numbers plus Let Love In the encore we have come to expect and gives the audience the opportunity to be the community choir led by the kilted wonder that is Alan Nimmo. The mutual joy was definitely shared on stage and in the audience
With a mix of numbers from the live and studio albums saw the welcomed return of Heavy Load. Originally a Free number given the Nimmo treatment his guitar work was as ever magical and the slight slip of the stings replicated a rare Free outtake! Alan chortled at the end of the song. Interspersed were crowd pleasers that have become the heart of the bands DNA You Stopped The Rain and Long History of Love. The opportunity for the band to get funky and the audience to dance, despite being curtailed by space clap our hands on All Your Life. What fun with Bob’s hands as ever throughout the evening caressing the Hammond making it sing in harmony with Alan’s vocals that were on top form tonight. Into the mix the muscle of the rhythm from bassist Lindsay whose strings gave a rich depth of funkiness and Wayne’s drumming hitting out a vibe that showered The Fleece with percussive force and energy.
Then there was the first opportunity to hear (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’. The cheers were rapturous before a note was played as Alan thanked everyone for buying the single so it was No.1 on UK Blues Chart. The number is a perfect single, introducing us to the album Exile & Grace out later this year. The hooks are sharp, the lyric memorable and beat infectious. Rockier that many of their other numbers, the sound invokes sound of British Rock ‘n Roll with a definite hint of Thunder in the air. The single is 100% King King and will become a firm favourite as it is an ear worm of ticklish delight.
Having reviewed King King for many years two things always strike me after the show. Firstly; you are left euphoric the blues rock they deliver pleases the crowd, they always entertain. Secondly, King King connect to your soul, with a feeling of friendship, belonging to a fellowship cemented by this is why LIVE MUSIC has a special power every time.
King King set List
More Than I Can Take (Standing In The Shadows)
Wait On Time (Live)
Rush Hour (Reaching For The Light)
You Stopped The Rain (Reaching For The Light)
Long History of Love (Standing In The Shadows)
Waking Up (Reaching For The Light)
Heavy Load (Standing In The Shadows)
Gimme No Lovin’ (Exile & Grace)
All Your Life (Take My Hand)
Stranger To Love (Reaching For The Light)
June 16, Friday, Worthenbury. Goin’ Up The Country Blues and Roots Club
June 17, Saturday, Durham. Durham Blues Festival
June 18, Sunday, Cleethorpes. Cleethorpes Blues Festival
June 22, Thursday, Coalville. Hardtail Blues Club
June 24, Saturday, Billericay. Blues at Barleylands
June 26, Monday, Cherington. Cherington Arms
June 28, Wednesday, Sevenoaks. Performing at the Stag Community Arts Centre as part of the Sevenoaks Summer Festival
July 1, Saturday, London. Brooks Blues Bar at the Sound Lounge
July 4, Tuesday, Worthing. Worthing Pier
July 5, Wednesday, Bristol. The Old Duke
July 8, Saturday, Wales. TBC
July 11,Tuesday, Hooley. Tuesday Night Music Club
July 14,Friday, Bridgend. Working Mens Hall, Blaengarw
July 15, Saturday, Marlborough. Marlborough International Jazz Festival.
July 16, Sunday, Marlborough. Jazz gospel service.
July 19,Wednesday, Northampton. The Malt Shovel.
July 21, Friday, Upton. Upton Blues Festival
July 24, Monday, Oxford. Famous Monday Blues at the Jericho Tavern
July 28, Friday, Lichfield. The Pokey Hole Blues Club
July 30, Sunday, Gloucester. Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival.
August 4, Friday, Luton. Bear Club / Mill Yard Jazz and Blues
August 6, Sunday, Bridgwater. Bar Brunel
August 10, Thursday, Cropredy. Cropredy Fringe Festival at the Brasenose Arms
August 13, Sunday, Penrith. Lowther Folk Roots Festival
August 17, Thursday, Bristol. The Bristol Fringe. August 20, Sunday, Stevenage. Blues at the Red at the Red Lion. August 24, Thursday, Tring. The Blues Bar Tring
August 25, Friday, Tunbridge Wells. The Cross Keys
August 27, Sunday, Market Rasen. Original Sunday Blues at the Hope Tavern
August 29, Tuesday, London (Oxford Street). The 100 Club.
Debbie Bond; always blows in the wind of Alabama blues with the combination of sweet and soulful vocals and the cascading keys from her partner Rick Asherson who also co-wrote ‘Winds Of Change’ a single that is powerful, political and perfect for the trouble times the world is navigating through at the moment. This is not the personal it is looking at the bigger picture, our precious delicate planet whose nature needs to be respected and nurtured so that balance is re-gained. The vocals howl with passion and rage. We need to listen and take action to hear the voices of the disposed, under-privileged and address climate change now before it is too late.
Once again Debbie has captured the spirit of the Blues and distilled the music to send our a message for today. This is not historical blues looking back but modern blues looking forward urging us to look, and take action for change. Winds of Change, passionate, relevant modern a blues holler demanding to be heard – make a date in your diary to see Debbie play live you will be delighted.
This is what Bluesdoodles said about Debbie & Rick at Blues On The Farm 2016 – With lots of bands for me to listen to I was not disappointed by Debbie Bond, from Alabama. She bought to the stage skillful guitar playing and a great array of songs from her current album. With Rick ‘Radiator’ on harp and keys playing a wonderful bass left hand. Augmented by Ray Carless on Sax and the re-appearance of Sam Kelly on drums. Debbie has a style of blues that makes you smile as she sings some great lyrics loved The Wishbone Song. In between the music talking in a friendly chatty way as we learnt about the strength and depth of Blues in Alabama, waving the flag for that state this year following on from Lisa Mills in 2014.
Watch the lyric Video below.
The single is available for download if you would like to buy a copy. We are donating proceeds to a number of environmental and social justice organisations.
Last year at Blues on The Farm Bluesdoodles caught up with Debbie for an interesting chat about music and life read what we talked about HERE.
Tonight, the blues was never going to be sitting in the Middle of The Road the music was going to fizz with energy and the crowded venue was ready to welcome Eric Gales and his band to their first visit to the U.K. and the West Midlands. As we waited for the venue to open, the difference tonight was every bag was searched a solemn reminder that going to a live music event is now overshadowed by the horrific bombing in Manchester arena just over a week ago. As many commented, this was good to see.
Before the main act of the night the Tom Walker Trioset the musical Barometer to high raising the temperature with a stylish and far too short set. With a new E.P. Into Space joining, as Tom said their other older CD, there was a good selection of the blues sound the band creates. This was Blues-Rock punctuated by funky rhythms from Deano on Bass; combined with artful drumming of Nate Barr creating the perfect musical landscape for Tom Walker to build with his guitar and vocals. The blues were at times swampy with great slide guitar as we Cross The Border with the trio off the new E.P. Blues is about timing and feel and this is a trio that has it in triplicate. Closing with a re-working of John Henry; from deep in American Folklore and early music covered by many and Tom made it his own tonight. Only, complaint I have, we wanted the impossible to hear more of Tom Walker Trio whilst at the same time we were impatient for the main act.
Short break, time to catch with friends and connect with new ones as people had traveled far what an opportunity to hear Eric Gales and his band tonight. With a fanfare and smile Eric strode on to the stage with his signature guitar held aloft. Starting the show with Silence for Manchester he commented that this was his first visit to the U.K. and genuinely overwhelmed by the crowds turning out for him and how scary it was arriving on the night the bomb went off. Like everyone he was still clearly affected by the senseless slaughter. Tonight, was about his music and we want to hear that guitar burn up the venue with his distillation of blues with funk, jazz and so much more as he connected with the audience through his music. The band tonight was more than a bedrock for his guitar to fly from they added another dimension with a wildness and stupendous musicianship this is freeform blues drenched in feeling and raw heartfelt emotions. Joining Eric on stage tonight were a double helping of percussive tones with drummer Nick Hayes and Eric’s wife LaDonna Gales and the energetic, deeply talented bassist Cody Wright.
The set was a skillful display of tracks from the past, his current superb album Middle Of The Road and covers given the Gale treatment blowing a breath of fresh air though every arrangement he delivered. With Change In Me – which Eric announced as track 2 introducing us to the album; this is more than a melody and lyrics, the number celebrates the rebirth of Eric Gales. His emergence from a dark place of addiction; now his focus is his guitar and the music he creates bringing smiles and joy to the audience tonight. Boogie Man, the Freddie King classic was then given it’s Robin 2 debut; this is music that is hot, and full of electric energy taking us on a journey that fills our ears and gladden the heart. The musicianship was stupendous as the guitar wept and joined the emotional outpouring of high-octane delights. We heard Buddy Guy, and got to know the man behind the six-strings. At one point Eric left the stage allowing Cody and Nick to have centre stage. The magic fingers of Cody made the bass buzz with tonal textures it was a music driven sculpturing of notes. Then it was the turn of Eric for a solo built around Blue Oyster Cult’s, Don’t Fear The Reaper, this was an impactive solo, with the prism of notes creating a rainbow of tones and sounds; spellbinding. The delivery of Swamp another instrumental and eleventh track from the album Middle of the Road; was a whirling dervish of tambourine from LaDonna and the music flowed in a heady free-form blues extravaganza. Wow! Finishing off with Catfish Blues and then the encore this was a night of musicianship, innovative blues. There is definitely nothing Middle of The Road or standard about any of the music played by Eric and the band tonight. This is excitement, hope and joy distilled into a night that was hot and will be a highlight of 2017 that is for sure.
If you missed out on seeing Eric Gales this time; he is planning to be back possibly as early as October this year. In th emeantime his latest album Middle Of The Road out on Mascot Label Group available HERE
The Tasmanian Devil, Rob Tognoni, will be back on tour in the UK and Ireland in August and September 2017. All dates feature Gaz Rackham on bass and Mike Hellier on drums. “From Australia & introduced to Europe by blues master Dave Hole in 1994, Rob Tognoni delivers a 100% powerfully charged experience with every performance. There is simply no compromise, which is strongly evident in his music. After 30 years his explosive guitar playing and unique songs are now being compared with the greats of his genre and have firmly established him in the European venues & festivals as well as gaining many fans of hard blues rock worldwide.“
Bluesdoodles thoroughly enjoyed Rob Tognoni at HRH Blues 2016 we said “Sunday Brunch, was hardcore not for the faint-hearted this was rock heavy blues from the Tasmanian Devil himself Rob Tognoni. He tore up the main stage what a start to the second day of HRH Blues.“
Tuesday Night Brighten with Devon Allman Playing Live in Bristol
Kick starting the evening loud, Mark Pontin Group who had traveled over the bridge to open for Devon Allman once again tonight. His set had a jam feel that didn’t showcase the music from his albums. Joined by Gwyn Ashton slide guitar was added to the rock-blues mix. They certainly got the crowd ready and impatient to hear Devon Allman in Bristol tonight.
Tuesday Night was definitely brightened with Devon Allman Band in town to play live music at The Tunnels. We were in for a guitar driven festival of music that hits all the right pleasure spots. Devon, jams, moulding the southern riffs and licks with vocals that have a tale to tell. Tonight Devon dipped into his back numbers from Honeytribe through to the last three superb albums.
The band that surrounded Devon, had a raw energy that bounced of the tone and textural delight that is the winning combination that sets Devon above many other troubadours of modern song; his and voice, he warms the room, engages the audience and leaves them wanting more of his music. This is why the atmosphere was electric, the audience surged forward as Devon played from the edge of the stage. Tonight, weaving the numbers together from his three Devon Allman Band albums on this Ride Or Die World Tour, with artful covers and a dip back into time to the Honeytribe his glorious licks from his Les Paul, a beautiful listening experience.
Following on from a favourite opening number Wash In A, we stepped on the Ragged & Dirty trail with Half The Truth, with that familiar yell of inclusion from Devon as he got the crowd clapping. Flowed by the distinctive open cascading of notes leads us into Can’t Lose ‘Em All leading us as the dance rhythm hits into Devon’s vocals, rich more and emotive. The room ant the The Tunnels was awash with the vibe of music that flows with an organic texture and form, not contrived this is music from the hearts, soul and talented fingers of every musician on stage. The interaction between Jackson Stokes animated playing and Devon was spellbinding it was music that you want every track to last longer. The rhythm section, powerhouse to any band did so much more that keep the beat. Between bassist Justin Corgan and drummer Anthony Steinhaur they shaped the music; providing the strong base for Devon to fly from.
From his time with Royal Southern Brotherhood, Left My Heart In Memphis joined the party, and it was a true Tuesday night party atmosphere as the wonderful lyrically driven Turn Off The World from Turquoise held us all in the hands of Devon’s guitar hands, with pick in his mouth and the fret board manipulated under his powerful direction.
Dipping into Honey tribe we heard Mahalo (Hawaiian for Thank you) from their debut album back in 2006, a wonderful instrumental that allows the instruments to communicate with you. The vibe is cool hints of Santana but one-hundred percent Allman a jam full of depth and wonder. We collectively thanked Devon for the music by loud cheers, clapping and dancing. We didn’t need any encouragement to participate in Bob Marley & The Wailers, No Woman No Cry. The Tunnels rocked on a Tuesday.
The music was an amalgamation that is all the strong with southern rock and the interpretations of the blues with Checking In On My Baby (Junior Wells); the music has a raw edge, slightly dangerous as Devon grins you are never sure what trickery will come out of the Les Paul. It always weaves its magic and tonight was no different.
Closing the set with Midnight Lake Michigan, we could not believe the time had flown by. The interludes and extras that Devon and the band blended into the set list let everyone shine a true celebration of music, live, dirty and energised. There had to be more in the bands tank of music. Yes, there was as they came back for a demanded encore. First, Devon teased us, with licks and riffs, named that tune. Before two numbers from Ride or Die Night Like This and Say Your Prayers. If we are good and say our prayers lets hope Devon Allman is back in Bristol real soon. As the last notes of the encore faded away with, we were all on a live music, Tuesdays just became a Saturday night as no-one was thinking about work the next day we had the uplifting melodies of live music, meeting of friends lingering in a haze of delights from Devon and the band.
You know it was a fabulous night when writing the review the music you choose has to be Turquoise, Ragged & Dirty & Ride or Die. However, good words can be let live music do the talking for you the energy s dramatic, uplifting and the perfect tonic for a Tuesday night in Bristol.
The Night Siren Steve Hackett Charms St David’s Hall Cardiff
Tonight the last Friday of April the packed St David’s Hall was treated to a programme of two halves. A musical programme of two movements. The first Prog Rock modern, progressive and pertinent as Steve Hackettunveiled live numbers from his stunning album The Night Siren and dipping onto four of his many solo albums. The second helping on this musical palette of delights was a revisiting of Genesis, the majority drawn from Wind and Wuthering celebrating forty years since its release.
For two hours, reality suspended as St David’s Hall was bathed in the multi-instrumental tones and textures created by Steve Hackett and the musicians that surround him. With an array of wind instruments including flute, penny whistle and soprano sax, keys, and a mixture of electronic wizardry, Rob Townsend; behind him surrounded by keys Roger King; the rhythm section of Gary O’Toole behind a sparkling shield of cymbals and bassist Nick Beggs with fretless and twin-necked instruments; and joining the stage for the second half vocalist Nad Sylvan.
With a discography full of depth and interest the night started with a dip into his third solo album Spectral Mornings and Every Day with the soprano sax adding brightness and colour we knew this wasn’t going to be an everyday performance we were in for something special. Gently easing us in with the familiar we were soon hearing the new album, the dramatic instrumental El Niňo so early on a number that was going to be one of the many highlights of the evening. The music from the instruments was woven in to a sonic technicolour coat of shape and form, prog rock that enthralled, informs and takes you deep within yourself. Three other tracks from the Night Siren were incorporated into the first set, as he stepped back into the past The Steppes fitted seamlessly into the collection with its Eastern feel.
The light show throughout added a sense of drama as the swirling patterns fell across the stage then up through the tiers that form the many faceted auditorium of St David’s Hall. As we stepped into The Skeleton Gallery the music live reinforcing the power of Steve Hackett’s latest recording and then to the album’s opening track Behind The Smoke. With a political comment about Brexit, an audience divided Steve reminded us that his lineage included Polish refugees. He sang the lyrics that explore the despair of the displaced and how borders contain. Whilst the music crossed all boundaries finding a common coming together through the power of the musical note tonight in Cardiff. This emotional masterpiece should be the earworm that dictates our walk through life and how we meet and greet strangers from a different place. Last visit to the album is Serpentine, dedicated to his father and gentler times. Inspired by his father selling paintings in Hyde Park, London. Closing out the set with Rise Again and Shadow Of The Hierophant; with Nick Beggs sitting on the floor using his bass pedals creating a spellbinding atmosphere. We had been on a voyage as acolytes and the feet of superb musicians who deliver prog rock that is mesmerizing, entertaining and often beautiful music, that cascades and falls away leaving a thoughtful phrase or question.
The Second set, was much anticipated with the Cardiff crowd looking forward to old favourites and hearing Wind & Wuthering tracks live once again. Opening with Eleventh Earl of Mar we were once again introduced to the vocals of Nad Sylvan. They are a beguiling mix of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins yet never pale imitations Nad brings his own sonic quality and vocal interpretations to every number. The cheer for One For the Vine, when announced was loud and very happy. Cardiff prog rockers were delighted. Then the atmosphere changed as we were treated to an Acoustic Noodle, Steve on stage with acoustic guitar joined by the band at the end a quiet interlude, with classical guitar playing, hints of flamenco and a moment of reflection. The quiet was broken with Blood on the Rooftops, and with Inside Out written by Phil Collins, an early lyric that was left off the final cut of Wind And Wuthering; a Cinderella song quipped Hackett, included tonight as it fits in with the rest. Closing out the set that highlighted the power of Genesis was Musical Box, a wonderful atmospheric number, Nad, using the tambourine to great effect as he added drama to the lyrics. Tonight was a great nostalgic set of Genesis classics.
St David’s Hall was resplendent in the glow of Prog Rock from Steve Hackett and his band of musicians, we had been bathed in lights of every hue and taken on a journey through the power of lyrics and the complexities of multi-instruments exploring the notes of the octaves. The sound was superb, the audience attentive and as one rose as The Musical Box faded. The encore the perfect Genesis titled number Los Endos. This must not be the end, Steve Hackett and his Progressive Rock is welcome back in town anytime. For me I enjoyed the reminiscent quality of the Genesis numbers, they are familiar and safe, BUT the new solo numbers have an edge and intimacy they are modernity looking forward not back.
The tour continues check out dates and venues HERE A musical journey to be enjoyed and definitely not missed!
Back in the O2 Sheffield for the second year HRH Blues III promised with a deep blues infused line-up to be an Easter full of music. They certainly delivered across the two stages, as ever clashes were at times frustrating, demonstrating the wealth of blues in town this weekend.
HRH Blues once again created an ambience, professional on the outside, inside pure unadulterated fun of listening to live music. The two days had a mix of blues from heavy and raw through to delicate and everything in-between. More people this year stepping on the bright blue HRH Blues Train crammed with live music in Sheffield.
With two stages, we heard a total of twenty-two bands and for some Royalty Passes & Media an extra five acoustic acts early on Sunday morning. The one disappointment for many was the missing act. King King had to pull out at the last-minute – now we know it was due to Alan Nimmo having acute Laryngitis. With the number of King King T-shirts in the audience you could have expected annoyance, but all you heard and saw on social media was empathy, love and get well. The bands that did play filled the gap with extended sets from Simon McBride and Ten Years After and a slightly early Saturday.
Getting the Easter music fest started was Dani Wilde who set the scene with quality opening act it was going to be high quality blues form the first to last note. Highlights in the main stage on Saturday were…
For the vast majority that I spoke to the stand out band of the first day and the festival were Billy Walton Band, they bought fun, blues and music that just gets every one excited. Following on from the band that wowed the audience and were still being talked about as the festival closed. Why? A full on band who really get that good-time vibe flowing the boys from New Jersey bring that East Coast joie-de-vie. Billy and the band want you want to party all night. With a horn section adding texture and tone they are just very entertaining and totally enjoyable. They were ready to party with the festival a fan supplied an array of hats and they were delighted to play with the donated headgear. The atmosphere was now loud, electric with blues flowing through the O2.
Follow that, well this is HRH nothing safe, nothing out-of-bounds as The Graveltones, a duo took to the stage. Heavy, raucous, energetic and loud they divided the room just as Marmite on toast would! The guitar was raw and the drumming hard with splinters of wood being torn from the sticks. Heavy, hard with complex rhythms and bucket loads of feel, delivering a punchy set that re-defines duos and the blues.
All aboard the next station on the blues train journey to Finnish Blues with Erja Lyytinen and her band. For many of her fans the first time we have had the opportunity to listen to the music from her acclaimed album Stolen Hearts. I was definitely excited having given her the full 10-doodle paws. High class set from the renowned queen of the blues slide guitar. In the set is Black Ocean for me a highlight and favourite on the album now a live favourite as prog meets blues under the charms and skills of Erja. We joined her on the rocking Chair, sang along with Stolen hearts. Then the trained steamed up the hill with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s Steamy windows. This was blues that sparkled as Erja smiled, played and won our hearts.
This year with the addition of food stalls and coffee there was no need to leave the arena and miss a single note of blues that was weaving their magic over the audience. Now we had two stages running parallel always a conundrum what to stay and listen too. Quick run upstairs to catch some of Will Wilde, this was the decision of many as the second stage was rammed and Will’s harmonica playing won him many new fans. For some the band of the weekend having never heard him play before. Will delivers more ‘authentic’ blues almost a match for Erja, a shame about the clash of blues titans. Will is one of the best blues-harp players on the UK circuit. Now we had a festival exploding under the glories of blues in full flight.
Back downstairs for Pig Iron returning for the second year. Describing themselves as Blues Metal this was pounding heavy blues that incorporates some delicate harp playing. Upstairs was Troy Redfern, the Welsh slide guitar troubadour. With tracks from his current album Backdoor Hoodoo. His rendition of John The Revelator is always a crowd-pleasing winner as it was tonight in Sheffield. The HRH Blues train was now gathering speed and pulling in a wide variety of acts.
Now back to the main stage for Simon McBride and the headliners returning for the second year Ten Year After. First, a stunning blues rock guitarist Simon McBride. The set saturated with scintillating riffs and licks making Simon’s PRS guitar sing and squeal. An accomplished set strewn with covers to extend the time on stage and numbers from his last two albums. What a set it was a tone the festival wanted to hear that mix of SRV, Hendrix woven together with McBride magic. The dueling between bass and guitar was magnificent. As he played Good Times Roll, following a McBride favourite Down To The Wire we were definitely having a great Easter Saturday as he closed with Deadman Walking we were all alive with festival fever.
After fifty years of touring with Ten Years After Chick Churchill & Ric Lee are now joined by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and the charismatic Marcus Bonfanti. Marcus’ vocals are full of power, tonal texture, his guitar playing sharp and the harp adds another dimension to the Ten Year After sound of 2017. No Ten Year After set is complete without The Hobbit, Ric Lee and his drumming acrobatics. A wonderful set blending old stalwarts and new numbers from the forthcoming album A Sting In The Tale out later this year. The whole set is a perfect platform for showcasing what a great and oft underrated guitarist Marcus is. Wow moments of the festival with Love Like A Man and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. Ten Years After strong after Fifty-years and the thrill of a new album. What a Saturday now for Sunday’s delights.
Sunday, started with a Smörgåsbord of acoustic showcases, including Chantel McGregor; Big Boy Bloater, Crow Black Chicken and Dan Patlansky who we would be hearing in full amplified glory during the day. The sets were chilled whilst also demonstrating the varied sounds achievable from the acoustic. This was personified by the difference between Big Boy Bloater and Dan Patlansky, same guitar totally different tone and approach. We heard hollers, blues and songs given new shapes a perfect slow wake up call to join the main blues train downstairs on stage one. Into the mix the wonderful vocals and charm of Jack Hutchinson a welcomed addition to any blues gathering, with a new band album, Set Your Heart For The Sun, let’s hope he is back electric in 2018.
What a stunning set once again from the mighty Sean Webster with his new band The Deadlines. Having heard Sean many times he never disappoints, unsurprisingly he was the find of the weekend for many. His rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind moved many to tears with the raw, intense emotion he puts into every word sung and note played. Sean has the winning combination of a superb blues voice and plays the guitar with lightning blue touch. Now living in Netherlands, Sean is the enigma of the British Blues scene never reaching the heights his playing should be taking him. Let’s hope the station stop on HRH Blues Train will be the launch pad for a renaissance of Sean the bluesman. Following on from Sean, in a bright red dress is Chantel McGregor always a firm favourite with her many fans. The set was a mix of favourites and her latest album. Anyone hoping for some new material would be disappointed, though there was a new drummer in the band. The set was safe, definitely rockier than the early days of Chantel. She still smiles with warmth and affection and Freefalling was a guitar blazing delight as were the other guitar improvisations. Her rhythm section gives her a solid platform, bassist Colin Sutton and Ollie Goss on Drums. The mischievous Chantel was ever present with ‘Aving A Giraffe a fun out take celebrating the April the Giraffe giving birth the story that Chantel has been following on Social media. The set overall felt a little flat, come on Chantel lets have some new McGregor gems soon. This is the nuances that makes live music fun a have to be there moment. British Blues celebration continues with Laurence Jones with his new band. Laurence is maturing the new band seems to fit his style and the addition of Bennet Holland on keys certainly adds some textures to the music complementing Laurence’s stinging guitar. We are enjoying this stop on the train. Yes, this is British blues-rock personified; what is great to see Laurence continuing to grow in stature, developing his sound and staying fresh. The longer lead breaks played with growing confidence adds interest and variance in the live sound. Fantastic audience participation during JJ Cale’s Cocaine, conducted with vigour and winning smile from Laurence more Cream and Clapton than Cale. That is no bad thing in a stalwart of the blues circuit who wins fans whenever he picks up his guitar and plays. .
Quick sojourn to Stage 2 for StoneWire a band from the South coast that I had heard about. This is a five-piece led by a big voice. Another great female vocalist out front shaping the StoneWire sound. Whilst on stage one, young gun Aaron Keylock, was completing the very British Blues opening to the day. Solid set as this man’s stage presence grows. He is full of potential and the setlist was a perfect showcasing opportunity for Across The Grain his debut album. The slide guitar was over loud and the vocals slurred but every time you hear him there is improvement, Spin The Bottle a set residence that suits this young man who is truly motivated and shaped by the blues. Not to be missed, if you get the opportunity another HRH Blues festival favourites are definitely Black Crow Chicken. The sound is earthy, dirty blues. Every song has a colourful story as they take the blues train down an Irish lane as roots blues collide with Irish Tradition through the amplifier. The humour is dry and all-encompassing that follows through into the strong lyrics. With Jonestown and a tribute to Pat McManus from Pariah Brothers, the latest album. This is a band I could have listened to for longer. A definite bring back next year request. With Big Boy Bloater following, his acoustic set was superb so we were looking forward to electric Luxury Hobo. The sound was too loud for the small stage area and that meant the music lost its edge. That said what a rendition of bloater blues pushing them to the limits and he knows how to entertain the crowds vital for any set and sometimes missing. The superb track from his album Luxury Hobo, It Came From The Swamp won him many fans another strong contender for stage one 2018.
Now back to Stage 1 for South African, Dan Patlansky who always delivers fireworks from his Strat. Tonight, with a band of session players from Germany we were treated to a stand out set of guitar acrobatics. Old Red is the signatures Strat of Dan, and is off for a refurb after this UK tour. With his latest single from Introvertigo, Sonova Faith given a live airing we hear the clever improvisation that is part of the live show. Never expect to hear the songs the same, chords and lyrics are a constant but the interpretation every time is a certainty. Dan can rock his blues, and then with an application of the blues breaks will slow it right down. Then you listen with care as it is as good as it gets. Dan Patlansky is a showman. He brings Laurence Jones back to play Bright Lights, Big City that sees a guitar dueling that sparked with jaw dropping intensity. Closing the set, instrumental My Chana is a majestic exploration of the every sound a strat can make. As he experiments with feedback, ringing single notes. The audience are spellbound, a collective holding of breath with wonderment. No one wanted the moment to end. Sadly, it did one more act Stan Webbs Chicken Shack and 2017 HRH Blues fell silent.
Easter Sunday, this year more music that chocolate. What a tasty day once again HRH train ride was full of blues hooks, licks and riffs, laughs and friends the perfect festival journey.
HRH Blues III blues train was full of exciting stops along the complex musical map that incorporates The Blues. The festival does not rely on have the same favourite acts returning each year. Weaving into the acts surprises and variance in the sound of blues.
With such an array of blues it is unsurprising, with not a single act announced HRH Blues IV; 14-15th April 2018is already over eighty percent sold. People want to come back, reserving there spot for when the HRH Blues train leaves the station once again in Sheffield 2018. HRH Blues a definite for Blues lovers diaries.
Dan Patlansky In Conversation
Touring 2017 and Beyond
BD: Morning Dan, great to see and catch up with you in Sheffield at HRH Blues and the opportunity to talk this morning
BD: Dan Patlansky,Back in UK and Europe for an exciting tour. Latest single Sonova Faith from the award-winning and acclaimed album Introvertigo.Returning to venues new and old favourites? With a new band tell us about your touring plan. Starting off at Mr Kyps with Ash Wilson opening and HRH festival you have hit the ground running
DP: Yes, back in UK and Europe with second round touring with Introvertigo. Following the achievement of Introvertigo being number 1 Blues Rock Album of 2016 by the influential American website Blues Rock Review. So we are back with a new band of session musicians from Germany bringing a different feel from my South African band. Part tour back at The Globe in Cardiff which will be such fun with Ash Wilson opening a great band, great songs the combination will be a good night of live music following on from Mr Kyps. HRH Blues was amazing great crowd and some amazing bands the atmosphere was really positive.
BD: Having heard your acoustic set at HRH which was wonderful, elegant, beautiful with lingering notes that I wanted to last forever; have you thought about doing more acoustic in the UK?
DP: Yes, it was fun. Acoustic is a different beast to playing electric. In some ways limiting with the change of guitar style. It is a challenge in the way you play and think about the music. As for playing acoustic in the UK; back in South Africa we often do the combination acting as our own support act. Yet to do that in the UK. Perhaps for the future; the logistic of travelling with an Acoustic rig as well as electric will be another travelling challenge. For acoustic at HRH I borrowed Big Boy Bloaters guitar, it was great to play and a big thank you to Big Boy Bloater’s loan of his lovely acoustic guitar. It was a different vibe when I played the guitar showing the power of acoustic.
BD: We all love to hear you get that special sound out of your Strat Old Red and is certainly how you continue to build your fan base. Tell us about strings, pickups and I believe you are retiring the beautiful guitar. How will you find a replacement?
DP: I play with twelve gauge strings, they are considered heavy, but I have always used them. I don’t just use them for the showmanship of the last number. I like the sound they produce. I use standard Fender pickup. For the last number, I turn my amp up to achieve sonic textures, feedback making it as musical as possible. I always have the amp fairly high, I play loud which is why I have speakers facing the wings and turn them up which can surprise front of house guys.
Old Red not being retired just refining parts of her. Just the neck is being overhauled. The neck has become a liability, 1960’s Fenders used Brazilian Rosewood, this is now a restricted wood and can cause a problem at customs in some countries. In addition, the neck is getting tired and twisted. When I get back home from this tour I’ll be getting a new neck for the guitar. A face-lift, not retirement.
BD: How do you keep the tracks we love to hear you play the sound is so fresh and vibrant when playing live? It is as if we are hearing the tracks for the first time as you add interest and surprises.
DP: This tour there is a new dynamic with the German musicians. It is though the nature of the music improvising. I may be playing the same song every night on tour, yes the melody, lyrics and chords stay the same but I go in different directions. Not always the way I expect, I grew up playing Jazz music the king of improvisation so every night has its own journey. Can be good or not that is the nature of the beast. It keeps the music exciting for us as musicians and puts a fresh breath into every night’s performance. We are definitely not playing by numbers, traditional blues is steeped in improvisation. I am just keeping that tradition alive and flourishing through my music.
BD: With a hectic touring schedule here, Europe and South Africa what are your plans for 2017 and beyond?
DP: Yes touring is hectic but always great to catch up with friends and fans we make on the tour. This will be the last UK tour focused on Introvertigo. I have dates in South Africa when I return. Then in June we go back in the studio with new songs, new ideas for my next album which will be released Spring 2018. Then back touring South Africa. We are also possibly back in the UK November 2017; where we could be previewing new tracks from the forthcoming album. So watch this space once dates finalized we will be letting the fans know.
BD: You are back in Cardiff at The Globe, what makes venues fun to return to? Is it building the fan base?
DP: Yes, excited to be playing back in Cardiff. I love the vibe of the venue. Why return to venues, it is a bit of both the venue and the audience is a big part of the show. The Globe is a great little venue, great audience who have such a positive response. I love the sound of the venue, the guitar always sounds good to me on stage which is really satisfying. The Globe is a loud room, lots hard surfaces. It is a venue I will always look forward to playing. The Cardiff crowd are always up for loud music and to enjoy the blues.
BD: Thank you for sharing with your growing group of fans. We have asked you your fantasy band, what you are listening to in previous interviews. So today who would you invite to play with Dan Patlansky band?
DP: Dream scenario would be David Gilmore from Pink Floyd. Gilmore got me into music generally and in particular the guitar.
BD: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and looking forward to seeing you play live in Cardiff on 4th May.
READ what Bluesdoodles said about the TEN Doodle paw album Introvertigo – We voted the album as the best Overseas album heard over at Bluesdoodles HQ.
Introvertigo with its carefully crafted lyrics that blend urbane wit and honest observation, this is blues pertinent to today’s lifestyles, not so much whisky and women more the corruption of power and social interaction. Ten tracks there are no fillers every number is full of strength and tonal power but there is not an off note or lyric.