Friday, September 23, 2016

Stevie Nimmo Trio - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 21 September 2016

Sold out signs for the Stevie Nimmo Trio at the Edinburgh Blues Club, and if this performance is the shape of things to come they’ll have standing room only at bigger venues before long.  This, my friends, is a band in crunkingly good form.
First though, a word about GT’s Boos Band, recently mentioned in dispatches in the BBC’s
Stevie Nimmo makes some noise
UK’s Best Part-Time Band competition.  Opening the show, they turn in a solidly entertaining set.  Greig Taylor has a satisfying down and dirty blues voice, and connects with the arrangements going on around him.  Meanwhile Johnny Boos delivers lead guitar in a variety of styles, including some neat fingerpicking on the driving R’n’B of opener ‘Seven Questions’, a nicely shimmering segment on ‘High N Dry’, and a sparky solo on the shuffling fun that is ‘Everybody Knows’. ‘Chain Of Love’ is a likeable slow blues with a strong vocal, and they go for the epic with the dynamics of set closer ‘Amsterdam’, though it’s a song that might have been better placed mid-set.  They go down well, and deservedly so.
But to the main event.  When I saw Stevie Nimmo and co play in Glasgow back in May, they were terrific.  This show was even better – with the benefit of an additional ingredient which we’ll get to later.
“Let’s make some noise,” says Nimmo as they plug in, and they do that right from the git-go, with the tough but danceable ‘Roll The Dice’, the first of several songs from SkyWon’t Fall – still my favourite studio album of this year.  They follow that with ‘Still Hungry’, even tougher and grittier, before changing gear with ‘Running On Back To You’.  It’s a slower, more structured take on the blues, with a Floyd-ish arrangement underlined by soloing from
Two Nimmos for the price of one
Nimmo that has an air of Dave Gilmour about it, and subtle variation from Craig Bacon on drums – and Nimmo holds the audience in thrall with a ‘hear a pin drop’ ending.
Nimmo’s vocals are impeccable tonight too, exemplified by the tenderness with which he imbues the soulful ‘Change’, and the way he invests ‘Gambler’s Roll’ with meaning.  In fact they generally crank the Allman Brothers song up a notch from the version on Sky Won’t Fall, with Matt Beable’s tense bass lines reminiscent of John McVie on ‘The Chain’, while Nimmo’s soloing ranges from delicate to intense.
They go on to dish up more covers, including a couple Nimmo recorded on his first album The Wynds Of Life.  Storyville’s ‘Good Day For The Blues’ is a song to put a smile on your face, while ‘Lonely Night In Georgia’ highlights ‘Crispy’ Bacon’s drumming finesse.  Sandwiched between these two though, is the highlight of this segment – an epic rendition of Big George Watt’s ‘The Storm’, on which Nimmo delivers a solo very much in the spirit of Big George, big on space and atmosphere, as well as an outro making terrific use of controlled feedback.
As if that isn’t enough, for the finale a surprise guest puts in an appearance – Alan Nimmo
GT's Boos Band get down and dirty
strapping on a guitar to play that funky music on an extended caper through ‘Lovin’ Might Do Us Good’.  So we’re treated to the brothers Nimmo swapping some blistering solos, and at one stage dropping effortlessly into a double-barrelled take on the riff to the Allmans’ ‘Jessica’ (aka the Top Gear theme).  Are they done yet? Nope – eschewing a walk off stage and a walk back on for an encore, they launch into a monster version of ‘Going Down’, twin guitars crunching into the riff, just to finish the audience off good and proper.

The Stevie Nimmo Trio are so down to earth they look like they could be cast as coppers in Life on Mars, while Nimmo’s between-songs chat is self-deprecating and at the same time respectful of the artists he’s learned from and played with over the years.  But this is also a band at the absolute top of their game.  Buy the album.  Go see them supporting Robin Trower.  Enjoy.

For details of headline gigs and tour dates supporting Robin Trower, go to stevienimmo.com

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