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 *****