BLACKBALLED / JONNY WALLIS - The Flowerpot, Derby 21.02.19
PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY
Ok, so it’s nearly the weekend and a Thursday night gig is a great way to lead into it. Fabulous music in a wonderful venue seems to have drawn a fair crowd too. Opening the evening is local singer/songwriter and the new frontman to 90’s band ‘The Newcranes’, JONNY WALLIS. A set of around ½ dozen songs describing life events and situations, a punk/folk edge to them had the crowd clapping along and through the clever use of cue cards, had them singing along too. A good way to start the evening. Thank you to Jonny for stepping in as support only a couple of hours before the show.
I had heard really good things about tonight’s headliners BLACKBALLED and listening to their music, I knew that the upbeat mood of the crowd in the room would only heighten. BLACKBALLED are a trio consisting of Marshall and Leon Gill and Tom Wibberley from Manchester are three quarters through their tour and tonight its Derby’s turn.
The smoke fills the stage as the lights stay low, feedback humming and then an explosion of sound emits from the stage. Hard pulsating basslines, rampant riffs and some supreme tub-thumping begin tonight’s gig. And that is pretty much how it flowed all night!
Song after song of musical delights, razor-sharp riffs, funky lowdown blues rumblings and drums hit with power and swing. Southern country-sounding songs, hard and heavy pounding songs, more delicate blues-rich soulful vocals, the band are hard to define, so many variations of style but all deliciously performed. These guys are skilled musicians, and more than that, showmen.
From the flamboyancy of the drumming behind the kit, Leon is fabulous to watch, he is obviously enjoying himself, laughing, smiling one minute but then lost in the music the next. And he really likes his cowbell…(we need more cowbell, baby!!). Wibberley has some serious funk going through the strings one minute then rippling low rumbling grooves the next. Marshall leads us on a path of melody, dirty grooves, soaring riffs, cleverly woven and held together by his vocal, his vocal tone changes to suit each song, blues-rich, southern styled, emotional, upbeat full of colour and most importantly character. It’s all there and more.
Chatting easily between songs, the guys are funny, witty and more importantly really comfortable bantering with the crowd.
With an EP and two albums to play songs from, tonight’s setlist was varied and very enjoyable, with a few standouts for me including ‘Shoes’ and ‘Wasting My Time’.
My first time seeing the band will not be my last. If you are seeing the band on the remaining dates of the tour you are in for a treat.
Marshall Gill – Guitar / Vocals
Leon Gill – Drums
Tom Wibberley – Bass
You can catch BLACKBALLED live at ASCENSION 2019 at The Patriot, Crumlin, June 7-9 - https://www.facebook.com/events/577799982684307/
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