The audience sat in anticipation waiting for the fireworks to spark as blues meets jazz creating the sound that defines Robben Ford across the years. The set list was a journey through various albums with a cluster from his acclaimed current album Into The Sun. The trio worked perfectly with an intuitive understanding of where the music was taking them forming shapes and colours that sparkled; with Jonny and Evan playing off each other, opening up the guitar leads breaks for Robben, they sat above the keys and drums but never distant from them. The three musician’s synergy added to every number they shared with us, the audience who collectively purred with the delights of music of the quality as part of a festival that is five years on becoming an integral part of the Bristol music scene.
My favourite moment was Rose of Sharon from Into the Sun with the Hammond’s chords and Evan’s drumming creating a backdrop where Robben’s guitar could fly with the six-strings sparking with energy and blues-drenched style. We heard a firm favourite the tribute that Freddie King, Cannonball Shuffle, for a few moments Robben brought the spirit of Freddie into the auditorium. Robben’s vocals were full of warmth drench in the blues with a story to tell, yet the trio raised the bar with the instrumental, from Bringing It Back Home. On That Mornin’ wow, I truly believe the audience collectively held their breath so nothing disturbed the music being delivered, we were all in a special, unique collective musical moment.
No one would argue, Robben Ford was on fire this afternoon for the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival. This was a masterclass in blues guitar playing full of timing, emotion and the soul that makes blues blend and bend around the lyrics.
Closing out the afternoon with an authentic blues number, Set A Date, provided a perfect ending as jazz collided with blues and many will be Setting a Date to see Robben Ford live wherever and whenever he plays in the U.K. again.
Every live album should have the energy, joy and sheer delight at performing like the seven musicians who went boom in Putney. Listening you just wish you had been there you know you missed an evening that will always be talked about dividing people into those WHO WERE THERE and the rest. The upside the rest can have the music in the part of your collection that never gathers dust. The Boom Band are modern British Blues full of verve and a panache for blending the lick of the guitar with sweeping keys and the vocal that delivers on every track. If America has Americana to describe a mix of styles rooted in blues then we should have Bluesiana and The Boom Band its ambassadors – they will kick out the cobwebs and revitalize the popular appeal of blues with a ripple of rock n’ roll.
Opening with Diamonds In The Rust, Marcus Bonafanti’s larger than life presence is immediately felt with his warm rich baritone. Every track has a special moment as members of the band take centre stage, with a sweep of Paddy Milner’s key, a lick of the guitar, combined with Mark Butcher’s guitar shapes as deft as those he shaped with a cricket bat Under the Skin. Paddy’s keys augment so many of the tracks he is the Boom Band’s not so secret weapon. He takes the lead on Junko Partner where Orleans meets East End Sing-a-long with the jaunty Junko Partner and Paddy Milner on the ivories and vocals combined with Jon Amor guitar no wonder the crowds whooped yet again with delight. Jon Amor’s vocals come to the fore on Moonshine combined with his guitar creating a tonal landscape full of ripples and silver. Every time I hear Jon play I cannot understand why he is not an instantly recognisable star, his song writing is sublime, and guitar playing that makes you weep with emotional intent and vocals that caress the lyrics. In fact the Boom Band consists of musicians who are at the top of their game and the plaudits will come flying in as this album shows the depth of talent. They produce a sound full of sonic turns and tension that is perfect whether listening live or recorded as the instrumental Monty’s Theme proves. Over half way through the album Marcus takes the mic and is his own irrepressible self as the guitar picks up the melody and we hear When You Come Home, as ever it is his vocals that warm up the atmosphere and you are captivated within his lyrical clutch. Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home keeps the home theme going with four guitarist in the group this is no dual of who can play loudest their inter-play adding textured tones with Matt Taylor’s riffs and vocals this is a winner.
Then another twist in the road with some ‘ Old Time Blues, Lighten’ Slim’s, Rooster Blues’ and you have to tap your feet and the reality as the hips swing the only solution is get up and dance at The Half Moon In Putney on a Friday night. Closing the album with a title that sums up the ethics and working attitude of the Boom Band We Can Work Together. Throughout the album the rhythm section, Evan Jenkins drumming and bassist Jon Noyce are superb building a foundation that allows the Boom band to create a night where, The Moon Goes Boom
The Moon Goes Boom encapsulating a Boom through the Blues – as they blend the tones and shapes of urban, country modern and British Blues.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. Diamonds in the Rust
2. Under the Skin
3. Junko Partner
4. Red Eye of the Devil
6. Monty’s Theme
7. Waste My Time
8. When You Come Home
9. Can’t Find My Way Home
10. I’m a Ram
11. Rooster Blues
12. Don’t You Just Know It
13. We Can Work Together
There was a lot of nervous excitement at Colston Hall as the crowds surged in the doors past the Satriani road tour buses, expectations were high and everyone wanted the music to start.
Kick starting the celebration of the guitar tonight was the Matt Schofield Trio with the phenomenal Evan Jenkins on drums and the ever-present Johnny Henderson on the Hammond organ. This line-up is my personal favourite there being an understanding, mutual respect and common purpose between all three of the musicians on stage. Matt is without doubt a quality guitarist delivering a purity with a style that has the competing combinations of control and freedom that produces a sound of the blues delivered like no other guitarist on the circuit today. His style is certainly distinctive readily recognisable and is fast becoming to the blues what Joe Satriani is to rock guitarists; thus this line-up makes perfect sense as this pair of consummate guitarist just took different forks in the road of the musical highway! It was a great set by the Matt Schofield Trio opening up the proceedings with favourites ‘Shipwrecked Baby‘; ‘Siftin’ Thru Ashes’ and ‘I Don’t Know What I’d Do’. It was obvious that they were loving playing in a larger venue with a great sound that suited them perfectly, and it was nice to see Matt out not with his faithful old Strat but his new It was not Matt’s old strat, its his new SVL 61 Reserve; it is awesome.
We had the band that combines vocals and guitar playing now for the main act of the evening Joe Satriani, who has dropped the vocals and delivers an all-instrumental format with his band that includes on the Keys and second guitar Mike Keneally, formerly of Frank Zappa; where he was the renowned ‘stunt guitarist’! also on stage was Bass Player Bryan Beller, and heavy hitting drummer Marco Minnemann on drums. Joe Satriani is definitely a change of genre, now we have rock but let’s not get into this boring pigeon-holing debate – talent is talent and high quality live music is always a pleasure. Joe’s guitar playing on his collection of Ibanez guitars has a clarity and precision which reflects Matt’s playing so we have a great example tonight of two similar techniques producing different sounds, so a win-win event for all. Joe has without any argument a phenomenal technique using the whole of the electric guitar and more as he squeezes every drop of musicality out of the instrument producing a Technicolor aural event. Combining this music fest is the very presence of Joe Satriani’s iconic image, his dark glasses are almost “compound eyes” we really felt as if we were surfing with an alien.
The strobe effect of the video backdrop complimented the urgency of the sound with some wicked foot stomping rhythms; the video footage changed reflecting the mood of the music that was definitely pleasing the crowds and we were being treating to a cosmopolitan listening extravaganza. Tracks included tonight dreamingly from another place, ‘Flying in a Blue Dream’ and the complete opposite with an awesome rendition of a Satriani signature track ‘Satch Boogie’ that is a foot stamping affair that raises the blood level; what ever the number a generous fox of Satriani guitar magic dust was added to the diverse mix this was always going to include tracks from his highly acclaimed current album including an opportunity for harmonisation with Mike on the title track, ‘Unstoppable Momentum‘ demonstrating different guitar styles that blend and weave together.
The most amazing mix for me of video and music was the backdrop of a wide open panorama of an American Highway which drew you in and the music transported you out of Colston Hall and right onto the freeway as a guitar anthem ‘Shine on American Dreams’; it was like living a dream of pure freedom for a few precious musical moments.
I am no guitar geek, and this was the first time I had heard Joe Satriani live, and I was not disappointed and the guitar changes were not just to bring on the technicians they did sound different and matched the tracks being played; so this was no self-indulgent process but like everything else Satriani does it was for the music! I was disappointed that the music wasn’t more avant-garde; it felt like this was delivery of music and guitar techniques honed to perfection and now he had stopped setting himself and the audiences any aural challenges.
Overall, despite the lack of interaction between Joe Satriani and the audience making him seem rather remote, this was a fantastic evening of live music and would recommend anyone who has not experienced Joe Satriani live – go – you will be entertained and see some amazing guitar playing, and instrumental delectation that will be a treat to your senses.