304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
It’s a school night and I am ready for some Southern Rock in Manchester with the quintet from Southern California Robert Jon and the Wreck!
One of my fave small venues – Band on the Wall has been refurbished and looking fabulous with the new stage ready and waiting for our guests.
The support act of the night from South Wales Laura Evans warmed up the crowd along with guitarist Joe Coombs. Joe enters the stage first playing a little solo guitar before Laura arrives to a huge cheer from her fans.
Huge smiles from singer song-writer Laura from South Wales, as she greets the crowd and launches into her blues-soaked country rock set. Her voice is amazing, soulful and key perfect.
Her tracks include ‘Solo’, ‘Fire with Fire’ and a brilliant Chris Stapleton cover ‘Arkansas’ which she recommends going to visit. Laura announces her new album is out on 1st July “State of Mind” She tells the crowd she wrote this from her bedroom, and didn’t even move from the house!
The set continues with Joe’s flawless strumming and Laura continuing to melt the hearts of the crowd with her ‘heartbreaking’ inspired song ‘Fool’
Slightly more upbeat and rockier tracks follow including ‘Gone’, the new album title track ‘State of Mind’ ending on ‘I’m Alright’. The crowd were dancing through the whole set and I am sure she won some new fans.
Fantastic set, be sure to get there early to see Laura on her remaining dates with Robert Jon and the Wreck.
A break for the fans to move closer to the stage ready for their idols, and I am now wondering how am going to get a good close up shot with there being no pit. I soon resolve that when I chat quickly to a couple of fans up front checking if is ok for me to squeeze in there. Lovely guys, thank you if you read this! Fisheye lens at the ready! Here come the boys, to very loud cheers and applause! Wow, this is a welcome. Robert Jon with a mug in hand and takes a sip, which looks like herbal tea, hmm I think, is this a disguise for a wee tipple?
They kick into their set dancing around the stage, I already know this is going to be a great show. Opening with ‘The Devil is Your Only Friend’ the crowd already dancing and singing along to the catchy sounds from the southern rockers.
Carrying on the soulful funk sounds ‘Do You Remember’ from the album ‘Last Light on the Highway‘ this is a trip down memory lane, such a happy vibe to this and awesome guitar vibes from Henry and Warren looking cool in his shades smashing the bass. Tracks follow include ‘Hey Hey Mama’ and ‘Everyday’ seeing Henry coming upfront to display his amazing guitar playing quite often during all tracks to the fans enjoyment. The band play so well together and clearly have fun on stage.
‘Oh Miss Carolina’ is next, and this is a big crowd-pleaser with the whole crowd singing along. I was lucky to be at the front to witness the atmosphere the band and crowd were producing “Oh Miss Carolina, where have you been” at the top of our voices. Drummer Andrew Espantman was very animated for this one, and was energetic throughout the set, with his rock-solid drumming.
‘Tired of Drinking Alone’ is another track from the same album from 2020, Robert’s amazing soulful vocals are strong throughout the set and the music is so uplifting the crowd loves it, and I am dancing around with cameras in hand too!
Robert Jon checks on the Manchester crowd occasionally, and informs us that this is the loudest crowd they have had so far! Welcome to Manchester guys! Robert’s guitar is swapped for an acoustic one, and the band even play a tune for us while he tunes it up! ‘This Time Around’ then ‘Desert Sun’ taken from their recent album ‘Shine a Light on Me Brother‘ Robert Jon and the band continue to deliver uplifting vocals and up-tempo guitar riffs. On keys, Steve Maggoria who has played solid throughout and even had his own solo to display his talent sure can work them ivories!
Rolling it back for a slow one next was ‘Death of Me’ saw the crowd swaying in time to this, as I look around all eyes were fixated and joyfully beaming as the guys deliver this stunning toe-tapper. Huge applauses after this, as after every other song to be fair. The atmosphere has been high the whole way through the gig. Robert Jon tells the crowd the next shows coming up, Leeds next to which huge boos came from the crowd, and he looked slightly scared by this. If you’re from Manchester you will know this is to do with football team rivalry. I felt like telling him it’s ok is not to do with the city itself. He gives a shout out for support act Laura, the fans cheer in respect for her fab set.
‘Rescue Train’ is next followed by Robert Jon announcing their new single ‘Waiting for Your Man’ another banger released by the band! They end with ‘Old Friend’ but this is not the last one. They go off and come back shortly, Robert Jon with a new mug of ‘tea’ to a crowd eruption. The track ‘Cold Night’ is epic and perfect to end on. The extended track saw the whole band joining in singing, and even Andrew jumping from his drums to capture crowd atmosphere on his phone. What an absolutely fantastic uplifting goodtime had by all, including the band. I met a couple of the band afterwards, and what lovely guys they are. They are on the up, destined for bigger stages in my opinion, and ones to watch for sure.
If you haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend you go ‘Get Wrecked’!
I know I will see them again!