Sunday, March 29, 2015

Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 27 March 2015

The Voodoo Rooms is packed again for tonight’s gig.  If it keeps going like this, the Edinburgh Blues Club is going to need a bigger venue.  Due to circumstances beyond my control I’m late arriving, so I’m only just in time to catch the last song from Lights Out By Nine.  Sorry to have missed you gents, but I can say that you cooked up a storm on ‘Digging On James Brown’, and I liked the sound of the horns!
Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band kick off the second half of the night with ‘Higher They Climb’, launch pad for an eclectic set that dots around slow blues, R&B, blues rock and here and there straightahead hard rock.  Bandleader Gerry Jablonski on guitar and vocals is an energetic little guy, prone to sudden charges across the stage to wig out in the far corner, and abracadabra gesticulations as he plays guitar.  But he’s at his best when he reins himself in for bluesier moments, such as his slide intro, redolent of Micky Moody, on the stomping ‘Ain’t Gonna Work No More’, and the Gary Moore-ish slowie ‘Blues Gonna Bring You Down’.  The latter, taken from their out-any-day-now new album, also features a wild harp solo from Pete Narojczyk that draws spontaneous cheers from the crowd.
The interplay between Jablonski and Narojczyk is one of the strengths in the band’s approach, and something of a unique selling point.  But it also has to be said that the harmonica player is a magnetic performer in his own right, bristling with such intensity that he grabs your attention throughout.  Imagine the Russell Crowe character from LA Confidential taking some time off from beating up suspects and lusting after Kim Basinger to let off some steam by blowing some harp in a downtown bar, and you might start to get the picture!
Rhythm section Lewis Fraser on drums, and Grigor Leslie on bass, underpin the front men with subtlety and feeling.  Leslie in particular brings some roll to the rock, as it were, while Fraser adds some nice harmonies for good measure. They’re a band who write good material too, such as the funky ‘The Dance’ and the good time set closer ‘Slave To The Rhythm’.  If they can focus their writing even more on their strengths, there could be a whole lot more potential for Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band to mine.

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