John Verity Band + The Unknown
Saturday 23rd January
Leos Red Lion, Gravesend
t is normal for January to be a bit of a graveyard for quality gigs after the festive period but occasionally a little gem can be found and that was certainly the case at The Red Lion in Gravesend last Saturday. For those who had some money left and took a punt they were in for a treat.
John Verity was the main attraction and for those who have seen him before we knew he was not going to disappoint - but the real surprise was the local support act The Unknown. The band are made up of Ross Fagan - Vocals, Robert Hassan - Drums, Richard Hills - Bass and Reece Taylor – Guitar. What strikes you from the moment the band launch into their first song, the aptly titled ‘The Unknown’ is that this band have thought about what they want to bring to the party. They launched their first album at the venue in November again aptly entitled ‘Into the Unknown’ and it’s not long before you realise why the place was packed out that night. I can’t exactly place them in a genre but their songs are brilliantly crafted and the band are tight – add to that the excellent vocals of Ross Fagan and distinctive (George Harrison style) lead guitar and you have a quality package. These guys have amazing potential and you can catch them on Saturday February 6th at The Railway Tavern in Longfield - entrance is free so do yourself a favour and go and see what I am talking about!!
On to the main course and what can you say about JV – a quiet unassuming person when you talk to him who exudes charisma as soon as he hits the stage. When in my eyes the best sound engineer around says he has little to do because the guy is so good then you know you are witnessing a master at work.
JV doesn’t waste time talking to the crowd and gesticulating to them to clap their hands - he doesn’t need to. His set combines his own compositions mixed in with classic Blues rock numbers. The first half is not a lightweight affair as it includes heavyweight classics such as ‘Cocaine’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ mixed in with his own compositions which include one of my favourites in 'Prove Your Love'. I say first half even though there isn’t a break, but you feel the set gaining momentum with two more Verity songs ‘Nothings Changed’ and the brilliant ‘Say Why’ which envelop the classic ‘Rocky Mountain High’. With the crowd lapping up every note JV heads down the home straight with classic after classic including of course Argent’s ‘Hold Your Head Up’ and ‘Star Spangled Banner’ leading into ‘Purple Haze’ and finished off with lashings of ‘Johnny B Goode’ as an encore dessert - delicious!!!
No gimmicks, no boring speeches, just pure guitar genius!!!