Dan Patlansky + Ash Wilson
Tuesday 2nd May 2017
O2 Academy Islington, London
Don’t you just hate a guy that has the voice, charisma, good banter and looks, is a master of the guitar and is an all round nice bloke? Well I tried and failed miserably, as the dust settled after celebrated South African Blues Rock guitarist and vocalist Dan Patlansky's explosive O2 Islington Academy gig, which certainly made the Blues Rock at his sold out show in London last Tuesday night. A man who once opened in his homeland for Bruce Springsteen in front of 64,000 people, this was Dan’s first UK tour since he supported King King in 2016. With a number of UK and German gigs already under his belt, this was the third gig of his current UK headline tour following the recent release of his new single 'Sonnova Faith' - taken from Patlansky’s current album 'Introvertigo' - which was voted #1 Blues Rock Album of 2016 by Blues Rock Review USA, which effectively put the wheels in motion for this follow-up tour to take place.
Dan’s special guest was Lincolnshire’s Ash Wilson who we recently saw supporting Sari Schorr & The Engine Room at London’s Borderline, - who again took his just released debut album 'Broken Machine' to another level with a stunning short live set with all bar one taken from the new album. ‘Show Me How To Love You’ was soaked in deep South Blues style, complete with opening chain-rattling percussion and a very strong Ash vocal, whilst the political ‘Worlds Gone Crazy’ - despite them playing as a three piece and the absence of keys – was still a strong rock out number. The Blues shuffle of 'Peace And Love', and it's sad story of the blues of desperation, was followed by the funky ‘Out of Time’, before Ash, who had a good line in patter by the way, introduced ‘Words Of A Woman’ - a song he wrote after innocently witnessing a stranger’s marriage in meltdown. With an undoubted Bonamassa influence, this was a great ballad with strong lyrics and an excellent guitar solo from Wilson - definitely the stand out track for mine from the set. Ash finished off with the only non-‘BM’ song from the set – a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ - a strange choice - but by then Wilson had the crowd eating out of his white glove – only joking. Make sure you check out Ash at his future gigs this year, which includes the TNMC, Caterham, at the end of August, and London’s 100 Club, at the end of November – you will not be disappointed.
Unlike Ash Wilson – this was the first time I had seen Dan Patlansky -although this was not strictly true, as we had the pleasure of interviewing Dan in London a couple of weeks earlier. Patlansky’s opener ‘Drone’ was completely unexpected - a beautiful, soft, jaw-dropping instrumental, so reminiscent of Akkerman, Freischlaider and The Mentulls – with Patlansky’s facial expressions almost as beguiling as his climactic guitar work on this masterpiece. What a start. The powerful raw Blues Rock feel of ‘Introvertigo’ followed, firstly the storming politically preaching new single ‘Sonnova Faith’ – by all accounts the most popular track from the album and then its very first single ‘Stop The Messin’. The driving rock of ‘Bring The World To It’s Knees’ from 2012 release ‘20 Stones’ kept up the unabated momentum before drummer Felix Dehmel counted in a cover of Jimmy Reed’s Blues classic ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ which Dan had performed recently at Sheffield’s HRH: Blues with his good friend Laurence Jones - on this occasion Patlansky doing the honours with yet another outstanding guitar solo.
There was a sure bet of some Hendrix influence on ‘Introvertigo’s ‘Bet On Me’ - and despite his short sleeved shirt – Dan showed both his heart and his soul on his sleeve with some more exemplary guitar work before he sent our pulses racing with his slide guitar intro and a thumping baseline on ‘Heartbeat’, which saw Tom Gatza jumping to his feet during an awesome keyboard solo before the gravelly voiced Patlansky wiped the sweat from his brow and launched into yet another groovy guitar solo. And if you wanted slow Blues, then step forward ‘Still Wanna Be Your Man’. David Gilmour’s influence on Dan Patlansky is never more apparent than on this gem – my personal favourite from ‘Introvertigo’ - and in true Floyd style had a beautiful Patlanksy guitar solo that built into one mother fu**er of a climax. Absolute perfection. Gilmour would have been proud of him, despite the annoying chatter from the back of the audience. Why not join our campaign?: #shutthefuckup
And if you wanted Swagger then there was the pure Blues Rock of ‘Daddy’s Old Gun’ with a great guitar outro solo from Dan – all about an old guy in a South African petrol station who pulled out a gun on a very surprised Patlansky! Dan’s previous album ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ got a look in with the pounding, up-tempo and darn catchy ‘Backbite’ before it was to time jam with another nod to Hendrix and ‘My Chana’ – an opportunity to showcase the band - with solo’s from all of Patlansky’s superb German session musicians including bass guitarist Jonathan Murphy (yes he really is German) – before Patlansky wrapped up the set with his piece de la resistance as he cradled his guitar in his right hand whilst playing an unbelievable guitar solo with just his left which included the chimes of Big Ben! Astonishing!
Once again, Patlansky’s Gilmour influences were again prevalent in his first encore ‘Loosen Up The Grip’ – with its delightful keyboard/drum intro complemented not only by the the power and delivery of Patlansky’s voice but also some soft intricate guitar work plus finger clicks from both Gatza and Dehmel, before its Floyd like concluding chorus. Truly awesome. Dan’s final encore was the rockin’ ‘Fetch Your Spade’ from ‘DST’, which in itself was a microcosm of an extraordinary set list that those lucky enough to be present had the privilege of experiencing. Despite no new material, this was truly a night of music at its ultimate best - a definitive stick of dynamite rock with Blues running all the way through it. Punters comments such as "what an awesome gig", "such a dynamic guitarist" and “such a great gig” were totally justified - and make no mistake - by a country mile, this is already a contender for our 2017 WRC Best Blues Rock Performance award! Dan goes back into the studio next month aiming to release a new album in April next year, but before that he will be returning to Europe mid-Summer and will be back in the UK in November. Do not miss him.
AJ (pics courtesy of Laurence Harvey, Richard Bolwell, Chris Patmore and Edyta Krzesak).