WILLE AND THE BANDITS / RAINBREAKERS / THE CUBICAL - O2 Academy, Liverpool 14.03.19
PHOTO CREDITS: TERRY MARLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
Local Liverpool band THE CUBICAL start things off in fine style this evening. Frontman Dan Wilson’s growling vocals have drawn comparisons to key band influences CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and TOM WAITS. The Guardian once quoting that “Wilson makes TOM WAITS sound like Tiny Tim”
First number is the explosive “I Believe It When I Love You’ with a driving sax and guitar riff providing an atmospheric backdrop to Wilson’s incredible rasping vocals. Their all too short set features songs from their 2017 album ‘Blood Moon’ including a moody version of the title track and an impassioned ‘I Want Money’, all dispatched in mesmerising style with the animated dancing and gesturing of Wilson the visual focal point throughout.
Why would this band would be first on any billing? Their high-octane style would be difficult for any band to follow.
Dan Wilson Lead Vocals -Guitar
Alex Gavaghan Guitar
Mark Percy Drums
Johnny Green Sax
Craig Bell Bass
RAINBREAKERS bring their own brand of blues to the O2 Academy stage showcasing numbers from their 2018 album release ‘Face to Face’.
Hailing from Shrewsbury, the band has received critical acclaim in recent years including being nominated for the UK Blues Challenge and Best Emerging Artist in The British Blues Awards.
A tight unit featuring strong vocals from Ben Edwards and some truly absorbing lead guitar from Charlie Richards. They produce a rock solid set, the pick of the songs for me being the soulful ‘Lost With You’ and ‘closing track ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Going On’
Ben Edwards - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Charlie Richards - Lead Guitar
Sam Edwards– Drums
As WILLE AND THE BANDITS take to the stage with a wave to the crowd and ‘‘Good evening Liverpool” they launch into 'Victim of the Night' from their recent highly acclaimed album release 'Paths’ A strong opening number that individually showcases the talents of these three accomplished musicians and gives a taster of the rich musical experience to follow.
'Make Love' is a flashback to flower power idealism and not for the last time this evening a call to politicians to find a peaceful solution to world conflict. 'Find My Way', the recent single lifted from the album, is a full-on rock track that has venue bouncing. This is a number that has to be heard live to fully appreciate the sheer power of delivery.
A change of tempo as we move to the onto the captivating ‘Watch You Grow’ with Wille moving to the lap steel guitar for the first time this evening. The song chronicles the changes and feelings a new parent experiences and was written after the birth of Wille's first child. The lap guitar playing is enthralling and continues on the cover of Peter Green's 'Black Magic Woman' a staple of their live set that also incorporates an atmospheric Djembe sequence from Andrew Nauman.
Throughout the set the musical style changes almost as frequently as the band alternate their instruments. The transitions are almost seamless although at one point, Matt Brooks, while addressing the audience, quipped “I’m just talking bollocks while Wille sets his guitars up” The vibe on stage is good and resonates with the audience.
‘Keep it on the Down-Low’ incorporates a funk beat briefly morphing into ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and features an extended bass sequence that has the venue buzzing. A haunting version of ‘Four Million Days’ narrates the quest to locate a parent and deviates from the original with a memorising extended cello opening that adds to the poignancy of the track.
An extended version of ‘One Way’ features a Bass v Guitar duel between Wille and Matt with Andrew providing commentary. Although a little disjointed in places this approach works as evidenced by the audience participation and reaction at the end of the song.
Although, as anticipated, songs from ‘Paths’ feature heavily the set also includes back catalogue favourites such as ‘Jack the Lad’ a soulful ‘Virgin Eyes’ and the rousing encore ‘1970’
WILLE AND THE BANDITS deliver on all fronts. They are accomplished musicians that won’t be pigeon-holed into a single genre. Their set features note perfect renditions of album material but they also experiment with alternative approaches that bring another dimension to the live experience. Go and see them on their current tour. You won’t be disappointed.
Wille and the Bandits Are:
Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Electric Lap Steel
Six String Electric Bass
Five String Double Bass
Cello, String Arrangements
Drums, Djembes, Congas
Wood and Steel Tongue Drums
Check them out here:
PHOTOS MUST NOT BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM HIGH RES IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER USE. PRICES ON APPLICATION.