The Wandering Hearts Live at Islington Assembly Hall, London ***** Live Review

Geographically it’s not far from St Pancras Old Church to Islington Assembly Hall, a nice mile and a half stroll via the Regent’s Canal Towpath. Musically the two are poles apart. The Wandering Hearts played their first headline showcase at the St Pancras Old Church just over 18 months ago. For many acts that venue is the pinnacle of their career, but for the Hearts it was the springboard to the forefront of the UK’s Americana scene. From an audience of 80 of mainly friends, family and record industry execs to a sold-out Islington Assembly Hall of 800. From a 40-minute set to friends and family to a … Continue reading The Wandering Hearts Live at Islington Assembly Hall, London ***** Live Review

Israel Nash rocks London – with the Treetop Flyers and Brent Cowles – Live Review *****

It was a very special night at London’s Scala when Israel Nash brought his band to town. Opening up was talented singer-songwriter Brent Cowles from Denver who filled his time with blues-soaked material. He was accompanied by a female vocalist friend which added considerably to the effect. He was worth the price of admission alone. The six-piece Loose Music act Treetop Flyers delivered a fantastic set largely drawn from their eponymous album. The Treetops are a lively band with infectious, catchy tunes with a hint of Van Morrison and the vocals of Mick Hucknall. Tracks included Art of Deception, the dreamy Needle and the fabulous Sweet Greens & Blues. Great band. Look out for them. The atmosphere was electric in the … Continue reading Israel Nash rocks London – with the Treetop Flyers and Brent Cowles – Live Review *****

The Urban Voodoo Machine at Prince Albert, Brighton, REVIEW Portsmouth News: ‘An experience that brave souls should see at least once in a lifetime’

Imagine a blend of The Pogues, Gogol Bordello, mariachi and New Orleans marching band, with rhythms of rock, honky-tonk, blues, and bossa nova. Add flamboyancy, drama, irreverence, camaraderie and comedy. Then you have the Urban Voodoo Machine. Before the gig you knew this was going to be different, instruments of all shapes and sizes were strewn on and around the stage, with an abundance of skulls and alcohol. The Urban Voodoo Machine is a fluid musical collective led by master showman Paul-Ronney Angel who on this occasion was joined by seven of his musical family; two drummers, bass, keyboards, guitar, … Continue reading The Urban Voodoo Machine at Prince Albert, Brighton, REVIEW Portsmouth News: ‘An experience that brave souls should see at least once in a lifetime’

Punch Brothers – EFG London Jazz Festival — Live Review *****

Three standing ovations. Two hours of magic. One microphone. The Punch Brothers, darlings of the bluegrass cognoscenti, brought their brand of highly distinctive avant-garde bluegrass to London’s Barbican centre. The Punch Brothers are mandolinist and lead vocalist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher. All combine to create gorgeous string and vocal harmonies. Inevitably the spotlight falls on the group’s founder and leader Chris Thile,mandolin virtuoso and expressive vocalist. The Punch Brothers are masters of their craft. Whether delicate mandolin playing, complex key and rhythm changes, foot-stomping bluegrass or storytelling, this group is the Steely Dan of the bluegrass world, with technical perfection and sophistication. With a tumultuous reception … Continue reading Punch Brothers – EFG London Jazz Festival — Live Review *****

William Conquers London’s Water Rats – William The Conqueror. Live Review *****

William The Conqueror gave one of the gigs of 2018 at the Water Rats in King’s Cross, London. In an era when news is dominated by threats of European control, a musical invasion is happening which is fronted by a Scottish-born, New Zealand-raised Cornish resident. Songwriter Ruarri Joseph is the driving force behind William The Conqueror, with brilliant backing from friends and previous collaborators Harry Harding on drums and Naomi Holmes on bass who form a tremendous rhythm section. Released last year, the band’s first album, Proud Disturber of the Peace, has been widely critically acclaimed. The question after a such fine debut album must be “Can they follow it up?” … Continue reading William Conquers London’s Water Rats – William The Conqueror. Live Review *****

Mill Town Rounders – Not The Love You Wanted – Album Review

Mill Town Rounders formed in 2012 as a joint project between friends Don Shulsinger (banjo) and Joy Walsh (vocals), who’d been playing music together on stage for several years. Like Don and Joy, the band’s other members, Joy’s husband Dave (harmonica), John Harper (guitar), Josh Olivier-Mason (vocals, ukulele) and Michael Carotenuto (bass) share a passion for folk, rock and traditional bluegrass. The band’s name refers to its spiritual home in Maynard, Massachusetts, the old mill town where four of the band members live. This is an album (Not The Love You Wanted) review with a difference. We sent an email asking for background on some of the songs and all six members chipped … Continue reading Mill Town Rounders – Not The Love You Wanted – Album Review

Aaron Lee Tasjan – Live in London **** Omeara Live Review

                      Oozing self confidence and owning the stage, the flamboyantly attired 32-year old Aaron Lee Tasjan thrilled at London’s Omeara. “Hi London. I’m Aaron Lee Tasjan. I hope I’m pronouncing that right”. Dry humour abounds in Tasjan’s world. Quirky, catchy songs were delivered with style and panache from this New York city resident. He began with Dangerous Kind which sprung into life with surprising guitar virtuosity from Tasjan, former lead guitarist of a reiteration of the New York Dolls. Then cameThe Best Is Yet To Come and the Beatle-esque The Truth Is So Hard To Believe from his excellent new Karma … Continue reading Aaron Lee Tasjan – Live in London **** Omeara Live Review

American Aquarium Astonish in London – Live at The Borderline Review *****

Alt-country rockers American Aquarium, one of the hardest-working bands in America who regularly play 250 gigs a year, blew London’s Borderline apart with an astonishing display of power, passion and panache. Frontman BJ Barham smiled, sneered and snarled throughout with charisma and commitment. He is one hellova performer. This new iteration of his band, he made wholesale band member changes last year, is sensational. To single one out would be difficult, but it was good to see Adam Kurtz’ pedal steel prominent in the mix, so often the instrument is kept in the shadows. The show got off to a great start with solo support from New … Continue reading American Aquarium Astonish in London – Live at The Borderline Review *****