SIMO are a trio fusing music from every genre into a river of guitar magic and have hints of Cream flavoured with Zappa and their own unique rock music. Tonight opening there was a plan, less of a jam as they showcased new songs and with a short set the opening track Don’t Waste Time was particularly pertinent. The trio have power, control inventive licks and riffs and an intuitive understanding of where they are taking the music. Drummer Adan Abrashoff has magic sticks reminiscent of Chad Wackerman technical and full of interest. The link that holds the band in shape with bass playing that is deep and rich is Elad Shapiro. The focus of many eyes is on JD Simo his guitar playing is mesmerising, energetic, full of details and little licks that curl around the rhythm section. This is a band that warms the room with Light The Candle and the spectacular Shine. This number really did shine with all the glories that are SIMO. The set tonight closed with Long May You Sail, the only number tonight from their current album Let Love Show The Way. Yes SIMO is definitely a band you want to sail on the crest of a wave with.
Up next, loud, electric young gun Aaron Keylock and his band. Tonight’s outing was still loud, fast and furious but I have to say there was more control in the performance. The sound was better and the vocals were present tonight. This is a power trio with rock energy bassist Jordan Maycock adds depth to the sound as the drummer Sonny Greaves completes the trio. As we await their forthcoming debut album due out January 2017, Against The Grain it is the live experience that is building this young band’s platform. The trio appear to be going down rock’s path, yet Aaron with his love of the blues needs to incorporate the control of blues into his live show. This was seen in Medicine Man and then Spin The Bottle has a chorus that excites audiences. Aaron with his raw potential will definitely be taking fans on an interesting journey will the road be rocky or blues? We wait with anticipation.
Finishing of tonight’s instalment of the Roadstars tour are Mancunian band Federal Charm much to the delight of the fans in the room. With the revolving order there were some disappointed as they would have liked to have heard SIMO ending the evening as they were the new band for many and are definitely exciting audiences wherever they play. This quartet with the two guitars up front of vocalist Nick Bowden & Paul Bowes as they interpret the blues with energy and charm. Occasionally it is hard to determine who is playing lead and rhythm as they meld the tone into the Federal sound. Completing the foursome are bassist LD Morawski and drummer Danny Rigg who do so much more than provide a solid platform. Federal Charm bringing a swagger to the music and always a delight whenever they play loud. It would be great if they could add some extra to the tracks from recordings so that the live version of numbers like Guess What have a bit extra pizazz. This would add excitement and a hint of danger to the live set that once again won them fans. Closing once again with Silhouette, the single from their much-praised album Crossing The Divide, they delivered and satisfied the crowd tonight.
Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight leaving behind a night of live music ringing in our ears as they pack up and move onto the next show on the road. Check out the tour dates and venues HERE.
JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more
Bluesdoodles was delighted to have a chat with JD Simo once again, In February shortly after we reviewed the stunning album Let Love Show The Way read what we talked about then HERE. Today we talk about vinyl the up and coming Roadstars tour throughout the UK,
BD: Hi JD. Good to have the opportunity to chat with you as you are about to hit Europe, we chatted about the album, influences and dream band.
JD Simo: Thank you, remember talking to you earlier in the year not sure where I was now having couple days back home before heading on over to Europe.
BD: Now your surname and band name are creating lots of discussions about how it should be pronounced so let’s start off the pronunciation of the name SIMO
JD Simo: Well, it has to be good being talked about. The correct on is sI MoH where the I is dominant we answer to anything, eventually as we become better known and more people see us live everyone will know but until that day all is good (laughing).
BD: Your current album Let Love Show The Way, Please the latest single is getting plenty of airplay. Tell our readers about deciding the tracks, writing the songs and opening with an Elmore James classic Stranger’s Blues.
JD Simo: While we were sequencing the record that track we all liked how it slowly builds up, it is not an abrupt beginning. Lots of bands start with an initial brash aggressive number but this for us was a nice way to start the record. More to do with the sound rather than the fact it was a cover or that particular song we didn’t want something abrupt as it were. As a group we put some thought into the order and which tracks to include we do this process as a collective talking about what assembly of tracks works, at the end we believed this sequence worked. Reality, nothing too exciting just a process we went through we do all the creative side and Mascot as the record label have very little involvement in what we produce. They leave us to do on creative end yes there is some correspondence but what you hear is the product of the band, it is SIMO.
BD: Like many you have released your latest album on vinyl, is this a niche or rising in appeal and will be expected by people as they continue to buy vinyl or is it a trend that will fade away?
JD Simo: I know that here in America vinyl is not a niche thing it is a pretty big thing with people especially my age group. Not sure what is happening in Europe & U.K. , sure we will find out when we are back touring over there very soon. Vinyl has become a big part of my generation who are true music fans not those who follow mainstream. It is how they buy their music whether new or old recordings. I grew up with vinyl it then went away in the nineties and then came back again. Let Love Show The Way, vinyl sales have been huge I have lost count the number of re-pressing of the album since its release. I do know we have sold more vinyl than other acts on Mascot record label and there have been occasions when we have sold out and the label has had to have them rushed to us on the road, Vinyl is the number one merch in terms of volume at our shows. The reality is it depends on your preference. I collect vinyl and have a portable record player set up where ever I go definitely in the dressing room. Every town I visit I find local record stores it is integral part of my life releases in that format very important to me. Luckily the tide has turned I think vinyl is here to stay a while.
BD: Are there plans to record a follow-up album and how do you find time with your busy touring schedule to even think about let alone write new songs?
JD Simo: We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process. When get back home before Christmas we will finish all the pre-production stuff. We have a space in the calendar January through February to finish the album. It is not difficult to find time to write as it happens, I write when the thought, idea hits me. That can be on a plane, in the van, dressing room or walking down the street. This year SIMO have played well over 200 shows so finding the time for three of us to actually work out the material is problematic. As a group we need time to work out how each song is to be played, arranged, this takes time it can even take up a whole day. We have tried using the time in sound checks to try our new material and ideas, when we do this we are all open with each other. Contributing what we like don’t like, free to have heated discussions the trouble is at sound checks there are people around strangers, it just didn’t work as the presence of people not involved in the process made us self-conscious, inhibiting the process. So finding the time for the three of us to set time aside has been difficult but we have found spaces sometimes a couple of days or longer break say ten days. Sometimes though you have a real break not have the pressure to work so we take couple days off then it is back the three of us working on the new material. We discuss together how to flesh out songs so that they are ready to be sent as a demo for our producers to review. At the end of the day I just love making music.
BD: SIMO have been around for five years? Let’s hear about the band how Adam Abrashoff and Elad Shapiro work around your attention grabbing guitar playing and vocals?
JD Simo: Laughing, It may be one to ask Adam & Elad. For me it works because it is very much that I have one vote of three, it makes perfect sense to use. The outcome of how it works if your readers come and see us play live it makes more sense then… (Bluesdoodles – you are in luck they are touring UK & Europe October – December – check out dates here) Plus we all have role on and off stage, my responsibility may be a little bit more prominent interviews like this one, singing but the three of us are all very equal in all the decision making like what playing that night… Very democratic, that can be difficult I can get frustrated as much as they can perhaps it is easier if the leader dictates and rest band follows but that is not my way. We all have strong personalities, we fight and argue, we are like brothers we make up quickly and do not take it personally. We are like a dysfunctional family – all three guns a blazing all the time and most of the time there is a healthy balance. In end better way to be invested in common goal inevitably better that both the guys have a democratic input.
BD: As you mentioned when we talked earlier in the year, Simo is back touring Europe including extensive UK Tour with extended Planet Rock Tour – Roadstars tour with Federal Charm and Aaron Keylock. By the end of the tour and festival set at the sold-out Planet Rockstock SIMO will no longer be a stranger to blues lovers across the UK. With the promises of three exciting acts what plans have you got to get attention with your style of the blues.
JD Simo: Not met guys in Federal Charm yet, though we did meet Aaron very briefly at Ramblin’ Man Fair. Looking forward to our tour of U.K. So far we have only done random one-off gigs in UK; a couple shows in the North and press show and support in London then in the Summer some festivals. Now we have the opportunity to play at 16 venues and a spot at Planet Rockstock. We will actually get time to see your country and visit all corners of the U.K. The plan is to share the ninety-minute slot so some nights that will be Federal Charm and other night Aaron Keylock, on these occasions we will play a shorter set. Every night we always play different songs so for people who come to multiple nights will see different shows from us. This is going to be a real opportunity to get to know the U.K. and meet a lot of fans, many will be seeing us for the first time.
BD: Normally I ask for your band but did that last time so this time I am interested in albums that have influenced/ delighted you as a musician. And the favourite at the moment?
Time was running short JD Simo is in demand we all want to talk about a band that brings excitement to the blues so his answer was an unequivocal – Alabama Shakes Sound and Colour their latest album is my favourite hands down I just can’t get enough of the album.
So lets give them a huge British welcome and go see the band on tour with Federal Charm & Aaron Keylock.
Tickets will then go on sale to the general public on Friday 17th June via www.thegigcartel.com or from the 24 hour box office: 0844 478 0898.
Teenage guitar sensation Aaron Keylock will release his highly anticipated debut single Against The Grain on 6th October.
While listening to Against The Grain check out Aaron’s tour dates below he is visiting a town near you with Wilco Johnson, Joanne Shaw Taylor and the Planet Rock Roadstars throughout October, November and December.
Before releasing an official single he has already been highly touted as one of the UKs hottest acts to watch out for; Kerrang! declared him the “New Solo Superstar” in the 2015 Fresh Blood List (Alongside PVRIS, Slaves, SHVPES, Qween Kwong & Knucklepuck); at Bloodstock 2014 Metal Hammer wrote “It’s ludicrous that someone as talented as Aaron Keylock is a mere 16 years old but if anyone can shred like Gary Moore, this young buck can.” Total Guitar called him one of 2016s ‘Ones to Watch’ after seeing him at Dot to Dot saying “TG caught his set and we walked away with our brain thoroughly melted” and Classic Rock included him in the Sounds of and Class of 2015 and have called him “blistering” and a “precocious talent”.
Already a road warrior, he has been gigging heavily since the age of 11, playing over 200 shows including the Jazz Café, Alexandra Palace, Shepherds Bush Empire. He has supported Blackberry Smoke, The Answer, The Graveltones, The Cadillac Three and he has played over 50 Harley Davidson Rallies – motorbikes would fill the room with smoke as they drove around him on the stage. Other memorable shows include; aged 14 being bundled out of a Camden venue as the London riots raged up and down the street, heavy metallers head-banging to Against The Grain at Bloodstock in 2014, playing to a full tent at Download in 2015, he blew the stage away at Dot to Dot Festival the same year and following a show in Manchester with Blackberry Smoke, he bedded down in a workshop surrounded by motorbikes, snakes, rifles and a python.
All The Right Moves
Just One Question
Against The Grain
That’s Not Me
Spin The Bottle
Sun’s Gonna Shine
No Matter What The Cost
You will be able to pick up the limited 7” vinyl single when Aaron Keylock is on tour from October to December with Wilko Johnson, Joanne Shaw Taylor and for the Planet Rock Roadstars tour with SIMO and Federal Charm.