Rock & Blues Is Alive & Well
Up the road again for the first of a string of Long Street Blues gigs during November. You spend ages waiting for a gig to come along, then three come all at once. Added to the musical offerings of Devizes Arts Festival and TITCo these past few days, and it’s been a musically busy week in D-Town where, as everybody knows full well by now, nothing ever happens……
Support act for the evening was local favourite Tom Harris, playing mostly his own material, but throwing in the odd cover to leaven the mix. I particularly liked his rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Tom’s songs are intense and enthusiastic, yet infectious and winning. He chatted and sang his way through his set, winning over his audience.
Main act for the evening, having made it all the way from Aberdeen (by way of Hartlepool) was the powerful and energetic quartet The Gerry Jablonski Band. Consisting of Gerry himself on guitar and vocals, Pete Narojczyk on harmonica, Lewis Fraser on drums and Grigor Leslie on bass, the band set off at furious pace, letting us know early on that they weren’t here to pussyfoot around. They knew what they were about, they were loud, they were confident and they seemed determined to pack in plenty of songs.
Through two strong sets, there was the minimum of chat, but just enough to engage the audience. The music was rough and muscular, but with plenty of hooks and melodies. Early on we had a number called “Koss”, written in memory of Free’s Paul Kossoff, and the lyrics managed to cleverly name-check many of the band’s greatest hits. The bass was thumping, the harmonica was squealing and howling and, driven by Gerry’s imperative and rapid lead guitar, the band were on a mission.
Much as I loved it, I was just beginning to think at the end of the first set that perhaps some numbers were a little samey. But then the band came out in the second set and proved me quite wrong, with quieter numbers, more light and shade, more subtlety. A highlight was one short number sung by – shock! horror! – Lewis Fraser the drummer, accompanied only by some (for once) quiet reflective guitar from Gerry. Most of the heavy lifting in the sets was, as you might expect, by Gerry himself. There was a look and feel of the younger Marriott to me about his demeanour. Overall the band worked hard as a unit and fully deserved their raucous encore.
Saturday 20th November 2021 Focus (Corn Exchange, Devizes)
Saturday 27th November 2021 Antonio Forcione Quartet
Saturday 18th December 2021- KOSSOFF…The Band Plays On
Friday 14th January 2022 Chicago Living Legends
Saturday 5th February 2022 Tinsley Ellis
Saturday 19th February 2022 Mike Zito Band
Saturday 26th February 2022 Mark Flanagan Band
Friday 4th March 2022 Black Sabbitch (Corn Exchange, Devizes)
Saturday 19th March 2022 Soft Machine
Saturday 2nd April 2022 Alastair Greene Band
Friday 8th April 2022 Billy Bremner’s Rockfile (Devizes Town Hall
Saturday 9th April 2022 Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (Corn Exchange, Devizes)
Saturday 16th April 2022 Billy Walton Band
Friday 6th May 2022 Birdmens
Saturday 17 September 2022 CSN Express (New Rescheduled Date)
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