Swansea based and British Blues nominated Mark Pontin Band opened the evening as The Globe started to fill, including many of Mark’s fans who had travelled down the M4 to Cardiff. Mark fitted his band around the Royal Southern Brotherhood equipment, as he delivered an accomplished set full of favourites that he delivers with a mix of covers given the Pontin treatment and self-penned numbers from his début album Days Of Destiny. Opening with Albert King’s Cross-cut Saw, title number from his album, Buddy Guy influenced Own It and the Best Blues song nomination – Just One More Day. The temperature was rising as was anticipation for the main act of the evening as The Royal Southern Brotherhood visited Cardiff the capital city of Wales for the first time, many in the audience were going to experience the live sound for the first time.
Out on the stage came the band, with five multi-nominated artists who bring a heady mix of talent and styles, The rhythm section is Yonrico Scott (Drums) and Charlie Wooton (Bass) providing a very special back line full of exciting playing that drives the music along. Into the mix we have Cyril Neville (Percussion and vocalist) and then the guitarists stage left Devon Allman and stage right Mike Zito, both adding vocals and different guitar styles the sound is electric and exciting as they do battle on stage.
The set list was a mix of the inevitable tracks from their acclaimed second album heartsoulblood on Ruf Records; including Ritual which combines the driving southern rock guitar of Devon Allman and the vocals of Mike Zito and then some blistering solo guitar from Mike which whipped up the audience along with Let’s Ride and World Blues, introducing the audience to the river of sounds that makes this album so special. The mix of a powerful Devon Allman solo and the vocals of Cyril Neville on Moonlight Over Mississippi from their début album Songs From the Road is full of hefty sounds that reverberate through you connecting the audience with the musicians through the power of sound. Then there was the bass solo from Charlie Wooton during Could Get Dangerous; letting the two guitarists and Cyril take a breather as the rhythm section took centre stage. It was mesmerising showing what the bass delivers in the background to keep the music tight, and with that it was Yonrico’s turn for a solo spot.. then the rest of the band rejoined and the music played on with Shoulda Known.
Into the mix of styles of funk, Latino, blues and some special magic of flowing harmonies and layers of tones and textures we have the vocals of Cyril delivering the title track from his album Magic Honey. This is a band whose music ebbs and flows like a river, one minute in full torrent rushing down to the bay and then slowly meandering as musical styles are drifting along as they interpret the music and deliver quality full of heat and passion.
The encore was not long enough for the majority of the audience who would have been overjoyed if the band had played on and on; but they had to be contented with Melissa, the iconic Allman Brothers track and the inventive re-working of Rush’s Working Man. The crowd was left ecstatic, emotion delivering music that hits you in the solar plexus and sears into your musical soul and makes your heart beat that little bit faster and the newly acquired fans were delighted that the band took time to mingle chat and sign the albums just purchased. The Globe heard some special music tonight that will seep into the fabric of the venue and stay with everyone who heard and saw some classy live music tonight in Cardiff.
EUROPEAN & UK TOUR DATES
29th June: Italy – Piacenza Del Mississippi al Po
30th June: Greece – Athens Volume 1
1st July: Italy – Ameno Ameno Blues Festival
3rd July: U.K. – St. Ives The Guildhall
4th July: U.K. – Kent Hop Farm Festival
5th July: Norway – Skaanevik Skaanevik Festival
6th July: Norway – Bremanger Opplev