Dan Patlansky + Mollie Marriott
Wednesday 21st March
The Borderline, London
South African singer-songwriter and guitarist, Dan Patlansky, completed his current UK tour at London's sold out Borderline last Wednesday night, in support of his new studio album "Perfection Kills' which was released at the beginning of last month and was the follow up to 2016's critically acclaimed 'Introvertigo'. Brilliantly supported by Blues singer Mollie Marriott and her band, Patlansky proved once again why he was voted Best Blues Rock Performance in our 2017 WRC Awards and Dan - one of music's nice guys - and his band, were accordingly presented with their fully deserved award backstage before their set!
Of course the added bonus of the night was seeing WRC favourite Mollie Marriott and her band as support. This being her second big tour since supporting Bad Touch last November following the release of her sensational debut album 'Truth Is A Wolf', released earlier that month. In fact the only time I'd actually seen Mollie live before, was sitting on Whisperin' Bob Harris's Old Grey Whistle Test Special couch a month ago - talking about 'TIAW' and of course her Dad - Humble Pie's Steve Marriott - the first band I ever saw live. Once again, for this tour Mollie was joined by a power house three piece band consisting of Jay Bone on drums, Ryan Burnett on guitar plus the only remaining band member of the last tour - Tom Swann on bass. The band's half hour set ran along the same line's as her O2 Academy Islington performance opening with 'Nobody To Love', a new song not on 'TIAW' - a riveting and rousing heavy Funk Soul track with exhilarating vocals. All augurs well for their sophomore album then! Next up was the the beguiling and classy title track off 'TIAW', an irresistible groove with spellbinding vocals plus an exceptional guitar solo from Ryan to match.
"Are you ok?" Mollie asked, dressed in striking skin tight black PVC/leather trousers and black tasseled leather jacket. Stupid question really, before they launched into another new song, the mid-tempo, catchy and potent track 'Into Shape', which again emphasised what a unit they are and that it's not just all about Mollie - although it was difficult to take your eyes off her given her commanding stage presence with her magnetic personality and seductive enchanting elegance. Given it was their last night on tour, Mollie duly said her "thank you's" before the tantalising 'Run With The Hounds', another from 'TIAW', a song that has a delightful and satisfying melodic groove, and was executed with such sublime precision and enthusiasm. "Does anyone like Tom Petty?" Mollie then quizzed the audience. Cue 'I Should Have Known It' from The Heartbreakers 2010 album 'Mojo' played with enthusiastic verve and a gritty riff delivered with pure sass and grit. Mollie then took the opportunity of introducing her great band during the epic and dynamic 'Transformer' - a slower, atmospheric and deep song with a rousing anthemic chorus that lifted and enticed raw emotion. A scintillating and powerful vocal performance from Mollie with fiery and spirited guitar playing from Burnett. The last song of the set was the mind-blowing and arresting 'Control', not only the first single from 'TIAW', but also its first track, which saw both a gutsy rousing performance from the band and punchy soaring vocals from Mollie. Full on impassioned heavy Funk Rock at its best. Yet another incredible and stunning set from Mollie and her band who return to London's The Water Rats on Thursday 5th July. Do not miss them.
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? A man who once opened in his homeland for Bruce Springsteen in front of 64,000 people and has just recently self produced his ninth album? However, the question on everyone's lips was could 'Perfection Kills' be the album which propells Dan Patlansky from a supporting act to a top of the bill star? In fact the last time we saw Dan was supporting Joanne Shaw Taylor at The Royal Festival Hall last November. However, it was his up front and personal headline performance at London's O2 Academy Islington last May that won him our 2017 WRC Best Blues Rock Performance award. Consequently we were expecting more of the same tonight at a sold out Borderline and Patlansky proved us not wrong as the South African proceeded to blow the bloody doors of this recently refurbished gig venue!
As the lights went down, and despite meeting them backstage earlier, it was wunderbar to see Dan's longstanding German engine room, namely keyboard player Tom Gatza, bassist Jonathan Murphy (yes he is German) and drummer Felix Dehmel return to London with Patlansky, as the Blues sensation opened with a hairs standing up on back of neck guitar intro, immediately registering the well documented influence of David Gilmour on Patlansky's songwriting skills, before 'PK's opener 'Johnny' - with its strong chorus plus both Dan's rasping vocal and a rockin' guitar solo - meant it was more Rock than Blues - telling the story of a troubled childhood, leading to the same in later life. "Thank you so much Borderline" enthused Patlansky, before the superb piano playing of Gatza brought things down a notch on 'PK's mid tempo and great sounding 'Never Long Enough' - complemented once again by Patlansky's unbelievable guitar playing - a song about how life on the road comes with the sacrifice of not having enough time with the ones we care for - Dan later poignantly mentioning his wife and two boys back home. Patlansky then sent our pulses racing on the melancholic 'Heartbeat', from previous album 'Introvertigo', which had both a thumping baseline and dark vocals, that saw Tom jumping to his feet during an awesome keyboard solo before Dan wiped the sweat from his brow and launched into another virtuoso guitar solo.
Patlansky's anecdote that the youthful Gatza would have probably been listening with his parents to the Backstreet Boys as he grew up, as opposed to Patlansky's parents listening to BB King in Dan's formative years, lead us into a cover of the great man's 'You Upset Me' before they returned to 'PF' and the mellow 'Mayday' with its slow, smooth, late night Blues feel, complete again with a building Floyd sounding guitar solo which not only showed the amazing versatility of Patlansky, but also, unfortunately highlighted the chatter going on at the back of the venue. Why not join our campaign?: #shutthefuckup 'Too Far Gone' - ironically a protest song from 'PK' about the state of our planet and what we are doing to it - saw solidarity from Gatza, rightly back on his feet again, well supported by Patlansky's fuzzy wah guitar, before Dehmel's drum intro on Introvertigo's first single and upbeat Blues of 'Stop The Messin' had Patlansky again growling out the lyrics, his vocal edginess to his Blues not only matched by his undeniable fret skills, but also his interplay with Gatza's keyboards delighting The Borderline faithful. 'PK's very first single 'Dog Day' - all about the state of the world versus state of individual lives - was next. Lyrically, not everyone's cup of tea, but you can't fault attitude, which this short track with Hendrix overtones has in abundance, with Patlansky again showing off his wah skills and the ever-smiling Dehmel providing some excellent percussive accompaniment.
Patlansky then took time out to tune his guitar, and we were glad he did, as he kept up the unabated momentum as we rocked out to the stand-out from his set, the driving Rock of 'Bring The World To Its Knees' from 2012 release ‘20 Stones’. "Are you ok with some slow Blues?" Dan enquired. Step forward ‘Still Wanna Be Your Man’ a tender song interspersed with searing solos. Gilmour’s influence on Patlansky is never more apparent than on this gem – my personal favourite from ‘Introvertigo’ - and in true Floyd style built into one mother fu**er of a climax. Absolute perfection. Once again Gilmour would have been proud of him, despite more annoying chatter from the back of the audience. #shutthefuckup Dan’s previous album before 'Introvertigo' - ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ - then got a look in with the pounding, up-tempo and darn catchy ‘Backbite’ - the first single Patlansky ever released, before the band finished their set with an extended Blues jam with another nod to Hendrix and ‘My Chana’ - an opportunity for Dan to showcase his band - with solo’s from all of Patlansky’s superb German session musicians including bass guitarist Murphy - which also gave Patlansky time to show off and showboat every skill in equal measure, by unbuckling his guitar strap and playing his guitar in various positions including the chimes of Big Ben! "We're coming back in November" was the good news from Patlansky as he tuned up for their encore, the storming politically preaching single ‘Sonnova Faith’ – by all accounts the most popular track from 'Introvertigo', a final chance for Dan to air all of his licks and skills on his old worn and battered Fender Strat. A sold out Borderline were blessed tonight to witness an extremely tight four-piece who obviously enjoyed playing off each other, and whose undoubted quality saw them delightfully jamming around the structure of most songs. As for Patlansky - he has it all and is not afraid to show it. Perfection killed tonight.