Support opening evening were from Basel and tonight the The Blackberry Brandies were a duo Bettina Schelker & Thomas Baumgartner both playing guitars and taking turns to lead on the vocals. They have plenty of power and with their mixing up of genres warmed the venue up as live music flowed around The Globe, Cardiff, the highlight track from their short set was ‘I’ll Never Be The Same’. There is no argument that the new sound system that has recently been installed has made a massive improvement to this venue.
With a short break and the stage reorganised Carl Verheyen and his band stepped onto a Cardiff stage, twelve years is really too long to leave it! He opened with Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ which was given a guitar make-over including some sophisticated electric licks. This was a band of three where all of the musicians demanded your attention as they all had superb and unique techniques making them stand out from the crowd. The power and technical prowess of the rhythm section cannot be overstated, Stu Hamm on Bass was a master-class as he bent the strings played chords and finger picked whilst never in competition with the velvet riffs, licks and interludes from Carl standing out front. John Mader was more than a drummer-percussionist he was an artist who shook the Maracas and stroked the cymbals and the speed of the changes between sticks, maracas, hands and brushes was as fast as any illusionist around. The performance was mesmerising and drew you in as the beat drove the band along. We were then treated to George Harrison’s Taxman with a reworking to give it the gloss of the Verheyen guitar style with amazing changes in pace and rhythm creating a seamless wall of sound that flowed and texture and tones with a full mellow sound combined with a mind-blowing purity that you just become absorbed in and wanted to listen too.
Chinatown, had real hints of Supertramp and was a crowd pleaser along with a very clever track Highland Shuffle which was a guitarist homage to Malt and all thinks Scottish including hints of Highland Fling, Jigs, Bagpipes and the neat that is Scotland through the lever and imaginative manipulation of his pedals and other guitar tricks hidden up Carl’s sleeve. Carl has a friendly inclusive manner and his ad-libbing between the numbers were humorous and just like his superlative guitar playing that for me was reminiscent of the tomes produced by Eric Johnson. There was no over sell of their collective talents, the new album Mustang Run this tour is promoting, Carl and the band let the music do the talking and that shouted out loud and clear this is musicianship from the top-drawer creating an overall sound full of contours and depths that makes you feel that more than three are in the band.
They achieve this without blasting out sound they do it by using subtlety and lucidity as they played whether their own music or another’s in their own distinctive style including ‘New Years Day’ minor key blues-style that was a beautiful playing and sing of real authentic electric guitar led blues. Stu Hamm, played the bass with style and panache with an instrumental bass solo ‘Just Outside Of Normal’ from his own album of the same name the audience that had turned out on a Sunday were treated to innovative bass guitar techniques rarely seen creating sound from the bass seldom heard. We then heard from Led Zeplin IV Going To California with Carl picking up his acoustic guitar. All too soon, what felt like a secret gig and it was a privilege to be part of the audience, the last track was played and it had to be Bloody Well Right from Carl Verheyen’s Supertramp days, and the title said it the music was Bloody Well Right on the nail a delight to listen to from the first note to last. It was disappointing to know that so many people who love great music, the sound of the guitar being played with verve and style missed a Sunday Night gem at the Globe. This was a brilliant gig, that exceeded my expectations – come back soon Carl and we will make sure it is shouted from every roof top and up and down the valleys you are not to be missed!
Carl Verheyen – Guitar & Vocals
Stu Hamm – Bass
John Mader – Drums & Percussion