Tag Archives: Dan Mann

Review: My Dynamite – Otherside

My Dynamite - Otherside

Review: My Dynamite – Otherside

Listenable Records 2017

Reviewer: Dan Mann

My Dynamite are back, 5 years after their self title debut album, with a brand spanking new release entitled ‘Otherside‘.

If your familiar with the band then you already know exactly what to expect. For the rest of you, prepare to be hit from the off with swathes of the Black Crows, mingled with British 70’s rock/blues eg The Faces, Rolling Stones etc.

I for one am really liking this 70’s rock revisited trend of a lot of bands over the last couple of years. No it’s not all a nostalgia trip as bands such as My Dynamite manage to put their own signature to it.

There are also country undertones with the likes of ‘Can’t Tell Lies‘ and ‘So Familiar‘ which isn’t really my thing, but done very well never the less.

What is my cup of tea are tracks like ‘Round the Bend‘, ‘Witch Hat‘ and ‘Motortalkin’‘. If they don’t get your foot stompin’ and give you a feel good injection then you must be emotionless!

The ballad ending ‘Don’t Steel The Light‘ rounds off the album perfectly with some great acoustic guitar and melancholy vocals.

Overall the album is very pleasing to the ear but for me the country tones creeping in muddy the band’s identity somewhat style wise. However, this is still an album worth checking out.


Review: Ash Wilson – Broken Machine

Broken Machine

Review: Ash Wilson – Broken Machine

Wilson Brothers Music (April 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I’ll start this review by saying I hadn’t actually heard of Ash Wilson until a promo copy of ‘Broken Machine‘ dropped through the letterbox. However, I’m more then a little pleased that this particular CD landed on the mat.

Talk about an album that ticks many boxes when it comes to my own particular tastes in music. From the outset your greeted with a four and a half minute onslaught of superior blues rock in the shape and form of ‘Show Me How To Love You‘. A real foot stomper of a track that had me reaching for the volume to crank it up!

Ash is certainly no slouch when it comes to twanging on that guitar with vigor, but tracks like ‘Word Of A Woman‘ show that he can lay down a rich, multi layered song filled with feeling and emotion. Reading the accompanying notes, I saw who the musicians were filling the rest of the positions, and boy has Ash got a band behind him. With drummer Phil Wilson and bassist Roger Innis from Laurence Jones’ band and Bob Fridzema of King King on Keyboards, there is a solid bedrock to the album.

Thankfully the production on ‘Broken Machine‘ helps etch out the finer points of the music without falling into the trap of bloated and booming which is all so often the norm these days.

Not only would I strongly suggest you grab yourself a copy of this album when it’s released in a couple of months, but I’d also suggest you catch Ash Wilson on tour with Dan Patlansky in March and April.

All in all it just goes to show the future of blues & blues rock is looking very rosy indeed…


Review: Michael Katon – Ror’ Outta Hell

ror-outta-hell

Review: Michael Katon – Ror’ Outta Hell

SunHair Music (February 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

As someone whose been a fan of Mr Katon for quite a few years, enjoying his albums and live sets, I was more then a little interested when Michael first mentioned that he was working on a Rory Gallagher tribute album.

There’s not much that needs to be said regarding the legendary Irish guitarist, and I was sure that Michael would produce a worthy tribute to the great man.

Well having now had the chance to listen to the finished product I can very quickly sum it up as yes it is indeed a worthy tribute.

It has been without doubt a labour of love for Michael, something he’s been working on for quite some time. No doubt Michael Katon fans will buy this album regardless, but this is an album that will please Rory Gallagher fans and blues rock fans alike.

The album consists of ten tracks, coming in a tad under an hour in length. It kicks off with ‘Let Me In‘ from the 1975 release Against The Grain and proceeds to cover the cream of Rory’s musical output.

I’m particularly delighted that Michael has included ‘Mississippi Sheiks‘ and I’ll be honest and say with Michael’s trademark gruff vocals it somehow enhances the track.

So to sum up once again……..thoroughly enjoyable, an album that needs to be added to your blues rock collection.


Review: Boneyard Dog – Bluesbound Train

boneyard-dog-bluesbound-train

Review: Boneyard Dog – Bluesbound Train

AOR Heaven (November 2016)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

When Boneyard Dog were first announced, the names on the line-up instantly made me interested in what they might produce. Well the fruits of their labour is now here, and it’s from a fruit tree groaning under the weight of talent and ability.

Regular readers will know my penchant for some decent blues rock, and boy ‘Bluesbound Train‘ has it in spades! The brainchild of vocalist Rob Mancini and guitarist Davy Kerrigan, the album was already underway before the addition of legendary keyboardist Tony Carey and renowned drummer Ron Wikso.

We start off with the intro ‘Atchafayalla‘ complete with vinyl crackling & blues soaked harmonica, it sets the scene for what’s to come perfectly.

To me the album resembles a mixture of American band Tangier and Bernie Marsden, so a big tick in the box for me.

Rob Mancini’s vocals take on a smoky quality, with some fantastic riffs from Davy Kerrigan. The combination of Rob’s bass and Ron’s drumming, together with a first class production give this album a polished feel but still leaving large hints to those whiskey soaked bars.

As with any album that I thoroughly enjoy, it’s always incredibly difficult to pick stand out tracks. So here goes…

Hundred Guns‘ is a track I keep returning too. A perfect blend of blues rock mixed with hints of southern rock. ‘Paid My Dues‘ is just a great blues track, think Gary Moore mixed with Jeff Healey. Davy Kerrigan takes on the vocal duties (as well as on Hell And Back) and what a terrific voice. ‘Fire Down Below‘, a great tongue in cheek blues rock number, another track I’ve repeatedly played. And finally the title track ‘Bluesbound Train‘ Just superb.

If for a sake of balance I was to be at all critical, I’d say ‘Lay Down The Law‘ doesn’t fit as well as the other tracks. Not that it’s a bad track, far from it. Just seems to stand out a little from the others.

So there we have it, an album that will be knocking on the door of my Top 20 albums of 2016. Here’s hoping they follow this up with another album.

 


Review: Big River – The West Sessions EP

The West Sessions

Review: Big River – The West Sessions EP

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Big River are a four piece blues rock band hailing from the Garden Of England, namely Kent. What we have here is their debut release, a four track EP entitled ‘The West Sessions‘.

Kicking off with ‘Mama‘ it has from the start an individual sound, Adam Bartholomew‘s vocals having a slightly rough edge to them, injecting some grit, the sort of ‘dark side’ of the blues I personally prefer.

Track two ‘Trouble On Double Time‘ sees guitarist Damo Fawsett showing us what licks he has up his sleeves. Adam’s vocals wobble a bit in the middle, but not enough to detract from the overall sound.

Onto the third song, ‘Hard Came The Rain‘, the band’s rough edged energy comes to the fore, with an almost angst angle to the song. It’s a track worth a repeated visit as it reveals more  the more you listen.

And so to the final track on the EP. It’s a cover of Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind Man Cries‘. This track has in fact been released by the band as a separate download in aid of The Stroke Association. As I’m sure most of you will agree, cover versions either work or they don’t! Thankfully this sits firmly in the ‘work’ box. There is real emotion in Adam’s singing, Damo’s guitar work, and the rhythm section of Ant Wellman on bass and Luke Calvert on drums.

Big River are a band who I’d certainly like to hear a full album’s worth of material from, and let’s hope that is sooner rather than later.


Review: Reece – Noise Box EP

Reece - Noise Box

Review: Reece – Noise Box

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Reece are a three piece hailing from South Wales who released this debut EP back in March.

Consisting of four tracks, the EP is a mixture of influences and genres, but without any danger of getting muddled. Kicking off with ‘Fear‘ which is their first single, there are helpings of blues rock guitar mixed in with a contemporary rock sound which creates a foot tapper of a track. Bassist Rob Reece does a fine job on vocals, with a very listenable voice, not one that grates or bores you after a couple of lines.

Moving onto ‘Peace And Harmony‘, I detect hints of Manic Street Preachers mixed with maybe Simple Minds. Certainly an enjoyable contemporary number. Next up the title track, ‘Noise Box‘. This does not sound like a three piece, instead your greeted with a wall of noise, which makes you want to crank it up. A fine rocking track.

And so to the fourth and final song on the EP. ‘I Won’t Let This To Waste‘ is a slower tempo than the previous track, a song that makes you concentrate on the make up and the lyrical content. You realise the complexities and subtleties of the track the more you play it.

With some great guitar playing from Jon Davies, whose tone is very pleasing to these ears and solid drumming from Russ Rogers throughout, I for one would certainly be interested in hearing a complete album from this three piece. Well worth checking out.


Review: Space Elevator / Cats In Space, Harlequin Theatre

out-of-this-world-tour

Review: Space Elevator / Cats In Space

Harlequin Theatre (Sept 29th 2016)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Some might say that it’s a bit of a risk doing a full tour of music that’s apparently ‘out of fashion’. Well judging by the performances of both bands on the night, how wrong said people would be. The engines were ignited and the ‘Out Of This World Tour’ took off…

Space Elevator started off proceedings, which was the first chance I’d got to see them live since the release of their self titled album last year. Having been blown away by the vocal talents of ‘The Duchess‘ on said album I was blown away once again by her live performance.

The Duchess

Wow what a voice! The girl can sing, putting household ‘stars’ to shame. We mustn’t overlook the talents of the rest of the band, the understated less is more playing of guitarist David Young, and the solid backbone of Chas Maguire (bass) and Brian Greene (drums). Space Elevator delivered a consummate performance, their experience and professionalism shining through.

David Young

Picking stand out tracks for me is a tad difficult as I thoroughly enjoyed every song. However if pinned to the wall I’d have to mention ‘I Will Find You (Gallifrey Dreams)‘ with The Duchess dedicating it to her favorite Dr. Who, Sylvester McCoy. Okay not everyone’s first choice but I’m not one to judge. Also the band’s cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Don’t Believe A Word‘, which they had released as a charity single, which had their own slant on it without removing the essence of the original.

Chas Maguire

The band currently have a Pledge campaign to fund follow up album which I really hope they manage. One things for certain, the next chance I get to go see them, I’ll be there in a flash!

And so onto Cats In Space. I was fortunate enough to have caught them at The Half Moon, and was looking forward to seeing them again, this time on a bigger stage.

They are another band absolutely brimming with talent & experience who have gained momentum at a rapid rate since the release of their debut album. It’s a clever trick to take the heady sounds of the Seventies and make them sound so fresh. Good music is good music.

dsc_0879

This is another performance where it is difficult to pin down individual tracks, well apart from one that is, that being ‘The Greatest Story Never Told‘, an absolute monster of a track and my favorite off the album hands down. Bassist Jeff Brown started the track off, not showing the nerves from the Half Moon Gig, before vocalist Paul Manzi took up the mantle with the band handing us the sort of performance this track deserves.

Paul Manzi

With guitarist’s Greg Hart and Dean Howard swapping licks throughout, the powerhouse that is Steevi Bacon on the drums, backed up by Jeff Brown on bass and the ivories deftly tinkled by Andy Stewart, and fronted by the aforementioned Paul Manzi, entertained we certainly were.

Jeff Brown

 

Dean Howard

Steevi Bacon

Greg Hart

With the band already working on a follow up to ‘Too Many Gods‘, the future’s certainly looking bright.

To sum up, a highly entertaining night was had by all, theatre shows are tricky due to them being all seated although a few people did venture down in front of the stage when Cats In Space were playing. Still it would of been nice to have seen more down the front for both bands. All in all a highly successful tour for both bands and thoroughly deserved too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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