Eric Gales + Dom Martin

Wednesday 8th June 2022

The Haymarket, Basingstoke

You wouldn’t typically regard Basingstoke as being the epicentre of Blues music, or any kind of music really (apologies if it is in fact home to a unique form of Hampshire folk or similar, tap and spoons maybe) but it is hard to imagine that there was anywhere else on the entire planet that hosted anything that matched the combined talents of these two fantastic guitarists on this particular night, the end of an all too short tour by the two artists. What made it all the more pleasurable was to watch and listen to the music outside of London in a venue with decent acoustics and, praise be to the patron saint of photographers, decent lighting.

Having interviewed Dom Martin quite recently, I was interested to see what he was like live. Sensational, in a nutshell; a great player who as well as playing songs from his recent studio release, 'A Savage Life', ‘Here Comes the River’ and ‘Drink in Blue Colours’ being particularly memorable, really let rip on a blistering version of ‘Laundromat’ by Rory Gallagher (of course) followed immediately after a shouted enquiry to the audience of “one more?”, by an extended version of ‘What’s Going On’ by the same artist. The guitarist is a twin danger with his vocal abilities in addition to his flowing guitar playing. He grew up listening to Rory and while he has his own style the way he moves around the stage and shapes his guitar, whether it’s done subconsciously or not, is uncannily reminiscent of the sadly departed Irish wizard.

There are not many guitarists that would want to follow such a performance, but Eric Gales is not only one of the very best players there is but, right now is riding an increasingly bigger and bigger wave of acclamation on the back of recent high quality studio albums, including his current release, the JoBo produced 'Crown', which was pretty much played in full. There’s not much more to say in addition to the reviews of his recent London show. Tight, funky grooves driven by twin percussionists, sinuous and fast rhythmic guitar playing propelling the songs and tasty licks and solos bursting out spontaneously with the ebb and flow of the songs. A hot guitarist and a charismatic front man with a hot band. A memorable evening.

Simon Green