Krissy Matthews Band
Wednesday 19th April
The Fiddler's Elbow, London
Just five days after the launch of his 'Live At Freak Valley' CD - Krissy Matthews was live at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden last Wednesday night. The live album was recorded at the Freak Valley Festival in Siegen, Germany, on 27th May 2016 and it really catches the adrenalin and pure excitement of the band in all their glory. Originally from Oxford, Krissy’s band has often been described as an exciting, high octane, Power Rock trio steeped in Blues roots. Indeed, 24 year old Matthews has performed at some of Europe’s most iconic music venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Loreley, Tanzbrunnen and Festa Avante. He’s also opened for many high profile recording artists at the top of their game including Joe Bonamassa, Toto, Greg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band and recently performed with The Hamburg Blues Band featuring Maggie Bell no less.
Max Maxwell's drum roll intro and Sam Weston's driving bass launched a two hour set that began with the first three tracks from 'LAFK', namely Matthews incendiary opener 'Feeling For The Blues' - making the point that you don't have to be old and wrinkly to literally get the Blues - although it's difficult to believe that he penned this track at just the age of fourteen and is still only twenty four, followed by the heavy opening bass riff of 'I've Been Searching' - another head-banging composition from Krissy, showcasing that he sure plays a mean guitar, and then finally, more of the same, with 'All Night Long', written at the age of seventeen, again about life's ups and downs with another heavy riff and a cool mid-section guitar solo. The Blues classic 'Sittin' On Top Of The World' - best known for Howlin' Wolf's interpretation - slowed things down nicely before the set list jumped on board the 'Second Class Zone' a real Rock 'n Rollercoaster from Matthews' second album 'Hit The Rock'. Taken from their previous studio album 'Scenes From A Moving Window', the curiously entitled 'Can't Get It Down On Paper', all about not being able to write a song, was eloquently dispatched despite no keys, as was the brief Rock 'n Roll number and title track from their 2011 album 'Hit The Rock', Maxwell's opening hammer once again seeing Matthews steal the show with a Rockin' guitar solo on a track written oddly enough about the band's tour van crashing in Norway six year's earlier.
Another Blues classic - this time Howlin' Wolf's up tempo 'Killing Floor' was followed by 'Living In A Suitcase' and 'The Girl That Lied' which sandwiched 'SFAMW's' 'Out Of Control' before two more song's from 'HTR's' 'Tell Me' and 'Sweet Loving' - the former including both a tender and heavy six minute guitar solo where you would have a heard a pin drop if it hadn't been for the discourteous banter from the left side of Krissy's stage - why don't you just shut the f*k up? 'Sinister Secret' was followed by Blind Willie McTell's 'Searching The Desert For The Blues' - a track he covered and gave his own take on his last studio album 'Scenes From A Moving Window' - its metamorphosis into one delightful jam as per 'LAFV', once again seeing a crowd whooping in delight as Krissy's guitar went into overdrive. In fact, with the exception of the final track of the evening - it was 'LAFV' all the way from then on - with another self-penned Blues Rock corker 'Language By Injection' - written about a night out in Poland when touring - nudge nudge wink wink - before another very personal number that Matthews wrote seven years ago after meeting the King of the Blues - Mr. B.B. King - 'The Soul Will Never Die' that includied both a two minute opening guitar solo that the great man would have been proud of - plus another towards the end which understandably got another roar of approval from the healthy Fiddler's Elbow gathering.
Maxwell's pounding drum heralded another Matthews composition - the boppin' 'Bad Boy' - which saw some more scintillating Krissy fretwork, before the band closed the set with two covers - Hendrix's 'Freedom' - now back as a staple on their live set list and obviously a favourite with Matthews, as this guitar tribute to Jimi truly demonstrated, and finally a cover of Muddy Waters 'I'm Ready' to round off a thoroughly enjoyable gig in a proper pucker Rock pub. To the chagrin of the guy standing to the right of us - ironically there was no time for 'Time Machine' - nor disappointingly for mine did they play the stand-out from 'LAFV' 'Bubbles And The Seven Phones'. But, hey, at the end of day this was an archetypal Blues Rock Power trio at their raw best and at the top of their game without JB's bells and whistles. With two more UK dates, Fuel Cardiff tonight and The Arches Coventry this Thursday, The Krissy Matthews Band European tour finishes appropriately in Germany on Saturday 20th May. Prost!