Tonight, the West Midlands’ finest venue, ‘The Robin’, plays host to German Blues singer / songwriter Henrik Freischlader and his band on the second night of his 6 date UK tour. Henrik is touring off the back of his 6th album, 2017’s ‘Blues for Gary’ and cites the legendary guitarist as a huge influence - “as you know, I wouldn’t be making music if it wasn’t for Gary Moore”. He has previously toured and played with some giants of the blues world, Joe Bonamassa, BB King, Peter Green and Moore himself to name but a few so his pedigree is undisputed.
The Robin’s large performance space is tight tonight as Henrik and his 7 fellow band members take to the stage. “My keyboard isn’t working” says Daniel. “We can jam whilst we are waiting” says Henrik as the engineer looks into the problem. After 3 minutes “there, we have created a new song for you!”
The gig begins with 1999, harking back to better days. The quietly spoken Henrik’s soulful blues voice and playing style are much in evidence as the band move with ease through the opening handful of tracks ‘Longer Days’ and ‘With The Flow’. By now you get the feeling we have a reluctant hero on stage. He tends to stand left of stage in the shadows allowing the other band members their place in the limelight. Just as the show hits its stride we are treated to a change in vocals. Until now Joanne and Linda’s vocals have complemented Henrik’s but they now take centre stage, first with Linda handling lead vocals on ‘Silence’ then Joanne on ‘Temptation’. The night is now beginning to feel like a show case for everyone’s talents. Musicianship is solid and tight with Harrisen also adding blues guitar and vocals on tracks. A welcome addition in the shape of the Stevie Wonder classic ‘I wish’ in a boogie blues style has the West Midlanders moving on the floor (albeit not all gracefully). “We’d like to play you ‘Wild Skies’ which is the title track of Linda’s album”. The girls have a far larger role than backing singers. What follows is interesting for your reviewer who is not keen on the music of Bob Marley but just stands there thinking, ‘Wow!’ as the band play their own Germanic blues version of the Reggae classic ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ which includes a beautiful Freischlader solo. The show ends with ‘What’s My Mother F*****g Name’ which is a crowd chant. No encores tonight. Just a simple thank you to the small Blues loving Midland crowd for coming out on a Wednesday night.
*PHOTOS NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT OF DAVID SANSONI / DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA*