Friday, March 15, 2024

DeWolff, with Silveroller - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 14 March 2024

“In a statement tonight, the police have warned members of the public about an outbreak of flared trousers in the Edinburgh area. They say the issue seems to have been imported from the Netherlands by the Dutch rock group DeWolff, but has quickly spread to encompass the young British band Silveroller. More information will be available in due course.”
Crackerjack Pablo van de Poel
“Hello Edinburgh!”
“We are DeWolff, and we have come all the way here tonight to ask you something!”
“Are you ready to rock’n’roll?”
“Are you ready . . .
“ . . . for the NIGHT TRAIN?”
The roared response makes it clear that the healthy crowd here tonight – me included - are all on board the DeWolff musical locomotive, and ready for a magical mystery tour that smashes together blues-rock, super bad James Brown funk, gospel ecstacy, snippets of jazzy fusion, and sweet soul music.
And so we’re all off on the ‘Night Train’, an original from their album Love, Death & In Between mark you, and not a cover of the Godfather’s tune.  And believe you me, the trio are kicking ass from the outset.  Guitarist and singer Pablo van de Poel is a jack-in-the box front man, delivering some face melting guitar (well, it certainly looks like it’s melting his face), while his Robin Piso sets about wrenching the guts out of his Hammond organ, and younger brother Luka van de Poel is giving his drum kit a right-in-the-pocket hammering, and adding on-the-nose vocal harmonies on a regular basis.
‘Heart Stopping Kinda Show’ lives up to its title, not least because it is a totally banging soul tune straight outta Memphis, though it’s also ramped up by a short and sharp blast of organ soloing and a screaming wah-wah solo from Pablo, who also embarks on a mid-song bout of infectiously
Harmonious drummer Luka van de Poel
hammy patter about how this is about more than the show they’re putting on, but about the choices we make that make life worth it – like coming out in the pouring rain on a Thursday night to see this gig.  These guys don’t take themselves too seriously, as their very 70s embroidered brown outfits attest, all flares and aeroplane collars.
They cool things things off with ‘Will O’The Wisp’, a chilled blues with filigrees of jazzy guitar and organ, and some falsetto soul vocals en route to a swirling organ interlude that’s not so much psychedelic as the Phantom of the Opera – and no, I don’t mean Iron Maiden, or Andrew Lloyd bleedin’ Webber either.
‘Tired Of Loving You’ is a dynamic blues ballad that takes in a lengthy, now and then classically tinged guitar showcase until Pablo wigs out good and proper and they head down the highway propelled by a surge of hair-flailing organ that Brother Robin then dials down into a soul-classical mash-up en route to a bone-crunching finale.
They take another detour with the 70s style funky blues rock of ‘Double Crossing Man’, before letting loose with a throbbing, gristly riff on ‘R U My Saviour?’.  DeWolff don’t sound much, if anything like The Who, but on songs like this there’s a similar Pop Artiness sensibility in the electrified air I reckon – at least until they put the hammer down with a spell of hectic guitar/organ interplay. Does this sound a bit like those other Dutch masters Focus? Well yes, it does a bit. Just a little. Sorta.
But before we have time to dwell on that they’re cueing up ‘Treasure City Moon Child’, with a
Study in brown Robin Piso
strutting start featuring some Santana-like guitar tones before it explodes into three-piece havoc of pummelling hard rock.  There’s still light and shade though, including a scat singalong led by drummer Luka, a nod to Little Richard’s ‘Keep A’Knockin’’, and ultimately a scorching guitar/organ face-off before they take their leave.
At this point it would be fair to say that DeWolff have gone down a storm with the assembled throng.  Except they’re not done yet, oh no.  For an encore they uncork a 20-plus minute version of their multi-section soul rock suite ‘Rosita’, into which they chuck the kitchen sink, the taps, and all the crockery within reach. There are swooning soul sounds, southern rock guitar inflections, Latino flavourings, and a whole of gospellation peaking in a hands in the air walkabout by Pablo, delivering a jittering testament to the “Mighty Power Of Love” (back in 2019 Pablo witnessed a sermon by the Rev Al Green in Memphis), all culminating in a manic, howling guitar promenade in which he stretches his corkscrew guitar to the limit. To encore with this magnum opus might seem like a daring, high risk gambit, but by the time they’re done there are Cheshire Cat grins all around the room.
Once upon a time there was an Aussie band called Mental As Anything. I can’t tell you a damn
thing about what they sounded like, but I can tell you that DeWolff deserve to inherit that mantle. In the best possible way.
Jonnie Hudson struts his front man stuff
Oh yeah, there was a support band too, by the way – and Silveroller garnered plenty of cheers for their half hour set.  They serve up a meaty starter of British blues rock with opener ‘Black Crow’, featuring a taut riff, pistoning Hammond organ, and skelping drums.  Then singer Jonnie Hodson whips out a harmonica for the bluesier rocking groove of ‘Trouble Follows Me’, with Aaron Keylock adding slippery slide to the crunching chords.
Hodson, with his shaggy hair, scarf and flares – I did warn you – is a strutting, mic-stand waving front man of the old school, to the point where I half-expect him to announce “’Ere’s a song for ya!”, but in a Scouse accent.  The thing is, he carries this off effortlessly, and looks destined to play bigger stages.
As do Silveroller as a whole, I should emphasise, as they deliver some mighty appealing material in fine style. ‘Ways Of Saying’ changes gear from a blue ballad intro into raucous rock’n’roll recalling the Faces, while ‘Other Side’ opens with gritty slide playing from Keylock and suggests Bad Company getting good and heavy, with bubbling bass from Jake James Cornes and whacking drums from Joe Major bringing a bucket of groove.  There’s soulfulness in ‘Come On, Come In’, and Keylock weighs in with a properly blues-rocking solo. But they kick things up to another level with the crackling closer ‘Hold’ and its turbo-charged riffing, plus a wild organ solo from Ross Munro, who sounds like he’s passed a Diploma in Jon Lord-ism with flying colours.
Silveroller look and sound like the real deal to me.  They’re bright and fun, and whatever their influences they still have their own sound, while Hodson and Keylock have a bit of a Glimmer Twins brothers-in-arms thing going on. Go see ‘em ASAP, and make up your own mind.

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