Aynsley Lister + Little Devils + Stark
Tuesday 27th January 2015
The 100 Club, London
Aynsley Lister literally played through the pain barrier at The 100 Club on Tuesday night. Suffering from a trapped nerve in his back (which necessitated the cancellation of his Robin 2 gig last Thursday no less) and consequently drugged up to the eyeballs on painkillers, Aynsley put in a killer performance which belied the agony he's been in. Drawing mainly on tracks from his last album 'Home' - for which Lister deservedly won both 'Best Blues Song ' and 'Best Songwriter' at the 2014 British Blues Awards - his undoubted quality as a guitarist and vocalist is not only complemented by the strength of his back-catalogue e.g. 'Equilibrium' but also his band - despite another change in his line-up since we last saw them at last year's Bluesfest. A great set to end a great evening of live Blues - but no pat on the back Aynsley!
Having already heard lots of good things about Little Devils and given that our Promotions arm had already nabbed them for this year's BluesRockfest - it's fair to say that having seen Aynsley and Stark previously - my expectation of Little Devils was a tasty bit of meat in a Blues sandwich ... and I was not wrong. The powerful voice and stage presence of Yoka Qureshi would float most Blues fanatics boats but the engine room of bass guitarist Graeme Wheatley and drummer Sara Shaw plus the dexterity of lead guitarist Ray Qureshi equates to the Devils being a formidable Blues unit. As Yoka pointed out to after the set, they write all their own stuff and are curently recording a new album, which includes the track 'My Perfect Year ' which was included in their storming set. Independence Day looks even more appetising now given this performance although before then Yoka and Litle Devils are supporting her Dutch compatriot and fellow flautist Thijs Van Leer and Focus at the end of February at the Norwich and Doncaster Festival.
Set List: Little Devil, Wounded, The Ghost of your Kiss, Love Me Like A Man, A Long Time Ago, Deep Inside, Chinese Whispers, My Perfect You, Rock & Roll Shoes, No Love Lost (encore).
The first time the WRC came across Brighton based band Stark was when we were sent their EP 'Where The Grey Slates Meet' (we have to get some perks) with the single 'Circle Roads' jumping right out at you. Needless to say we had a moan at lead singer/guitarist Jamie Francis for leaving it out of their set - in fact we only recognised Ball and Chain from their second EP. To be fair though, the critical acclaim that Stark have recently received for their unique take on the Blues was clearly evident - their tightness and harmonies on new material such as Crash On The Levee, Sail The Jordan ('Video Of The Day') and Death Letter. Watch out for another perk as Stark release their new single as a free download on March 2nd from http://www.starkband.com