The Garage in Swansea is a venue that is now putting on a variety of blues acts regularly and tonight The Dirty Aces with the mighty Giles Robson were the act delivering the music live from the stage.
Opening tonight was local bluesman Gordon Wride, tonight the Revelators were a duo with a harmonica player joining Gordon delivering a set of Chicago Blues, Robert Johnson and Howling Wolf that set the ambiance for the evening as we all waited for a new line-up for The Dirty Aces, Giles robson (Harp & Vocals),Filip Kozlowski (Guitar) and new to the line-up Simon Small (Drums) and Tom Hull (Bass).
Tonight we were treated to a display of British Blues with a modern edge with tracks from previous C.D. “Crooked Heart of Mine” and their latest E.P Sinnin’ ‘Gainst Me creating a high octane beat that drove the tracks forward creating a live sound that delivered a real feel good factor from the opening note through to the closing note as the music faded away and everyone would have liked to have heard more. There is no doubt that the new E.P and line-up were delivering a different sound with more than a twist of anarchy curtsey of a punk beat; and rougher making the performance seem slightly edgy and riskier; this revamp makes The Dirt Aces a really exciting live act. Giles as ever led and shaped the form and texture of every track with the combination of his distinctive laid back haunting vocals and his very own style of blues harp, definitely dirty , high tempo this was a virtuoso performance and set the band out from the rest. Giles is able to walk the wild side of blues thanks to the rest of the Dirty Aces who provide a solid bedrock of musicianship that lays down the perfect platform for Giles to soar from and at times almost go free-form taking a leaf out jazzy blues.
Filip Kozlowski provides a lead guitar sound that compliments the vocals and with Giles’ harp at times there is an interesting battle as to which instrument is in the ascendency this friendly duel adds an exciting dimension to the band, ensuring that this is a band the blends and bends the tracks to allow all the skills to shine through – it is not the case of I am the leader you follow… Simon Small the drummer has a style that is recognisable and with his at times broken, not quite complete blues shuffles suits the measured anarchic side of the band when combined with his impeccable timing and delivering of a beat that makes the rest of the band feel secure with this skilful anchorman at the back who is never going to hide behind the symbol as he drives the tempo and keeps the shape on every track. In to the mix add Tom Hull, on bass, despite being the first outing with The Dirty Aces he provided interesting bass lines that add to the mix swelling the depth of sound and adding a funky twang to many of the tracks performed. The tracks from the latest E.P. demonstrate the quality of lyrics as evidenced on ‘That Simple Step‘, with the beautiful harp opening that sets the tone of wishfulness and strength that fits in with the lyrics delivered in a soft vocal countering the high pitch assertive harp, that goes to the depth of your soul and sends tingles up the spine as the music draws you in until only the stage matters, this is hypnotic harp playing. The set was interspersed with Dirty Aces favourites including Mighty Incinerator, Devil Led Evil and Cooling Board and some exciting new tracks including a very apposite, apocalyptic number ‘When That Final Storm Rolls In’ considering the bout of rain that has fallen from this sky over the last few months, this is true Devil music that stirs up a range of emotions. And what Giles referred to as his Jeremy Kyle song, with its modern, strong lyrics, ‘The Song of All Our Songs’ (apologies if the title is not quite right but this was a superb number and my personal favourite of the evening). All too soon it was the end of a the set that took the audience through every emotion and ensured a good-time, the encore was The Dirty Aces, unique take on House of The Rising Sun, this is no cover as it is given the harp treatment by Giles; like all great bands you were left wanting more..
After the pictures – review of a tantalizing E.P. my only wish thatit was much much longer…
The Dirty Aces – Sinnin’ ‘Gainst Me – www.thedirtyaces.com
This is a three track E.P. A tempting taster of the re-vamped The Dirty Aces, a raunchier, bluesy punk sound that full of energy that is focussed into the lyrics and music creating a full upbeat driving rhythm that has a real twist of punk, this is controlled anarchy! Giles leads from the front but he is one of the Dirty Aces not a front man who expects the band to follow this is musicians working as one to create a complex woven tapestry of sound that takes you on a mesmerising journey as his hypnotic harp style acts apun the senses like a blues version of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Each of the three tracks are distinctive sound opening with the title track you are treated to 3 minutes of a journey starting of deep with a bass intro, then the tempo and tone rises as the harp joins then some percussive drumming then vocals and guitar joining this party of sound; it is an infectious foot tapping hand clapping track that makes you sit up and take notice. That Simple Step the middle track opens with harp and has a break-neck tempo that the vocals calm down as you realise often what seems to be a simple step is full of complications and confusions, the music reflects the fear that The Simple Step often generates; the playing of cymbals really represents the hesitancy we have all experienced when taking a life-changing decision. The all too soon it is the last track Ain’t No Forgetting, punk really comes to the fore right from the oft with the count in and the music just follows on this is a track that would get crowds to there feet, other stomping, it is impossible to sit still whilst the tempo rips through your body and soul. This is a great introduction but like a taster menu, the music is delicious but you are left in the lurch and wanting more a bigger earful of this great blues sound… counting the minutes until a full CD is released until then these three tracks will just have to suffice…