REVIEW – Lachy Doley @ Corn Exchange, Devizes – Friday 9th December 2022

Awesome Aussie!

Andy Fawthrop

On a perishingly cold night in D-Town, the one thing you needed was to get warm as soon as possible.  And fortunately for us there was some genuine Australian heat waiting for us.

Paul Chandler’s Longcroft Productions had done the business yet again.  Pulling off something of a coup by securing the Lachy Doley band’s only UK date on their current European tour, they were rewarded by a very large crowd filling all the tables in the Corn Exchange, including folks who had travelled enormous distances just to be there on the night.  Would it all be worthwhile?  Would the reality live up to the hype of the publicity?

There was no support act (and none was needed to be fair), so we were straight on with the entertainment.  After a clearly emotional introduction from Paul, the Aussies hit the stage.  Although perhaps less well known in Europe than in his native Australia, virtuoso keyboard player Lachy Doley (dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond), had a lot to live up to.  He was joined by bassist Joel Burton and drummer Jackie Barnes.  

Playing a mixture of self-penned pieces, with a leavening of classic covers, the band absolutely lit up the stage from the get-go, producing a mounting wave of high-energy numbers.  Lachy himself was an absolute bundle of enthusiasm and commitment, attacking his keyboards with total commitment, from every angle and using every part of his body (it seemed) to produce some astonishing music.  Sitting, kneeling, standing, crouching – it made no difference.  Everything came out to stunning effect.

((Just for the technically-minded, he was playing a 1971 UK spec B3 Hammond with two 122 Leslies, and a vintage Hohner D6 Whammy Clavinet.  The Clavinet is an electrically amplified clavichord invented in the 1960s, which produces sounds by a rubber pad striking a point on a tensioned string, and designed to resemble the Renaissance-era clavichord.  The clavinet was pushed through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp.))  And for the less technically-minded (like me), the upshot of all this clever stuff was a set-up that enabled him to play the keyboard as if it were a guitar.  And it was quite something to both watch and to listen to.  As an early demonstration of just what it could do, the band’s version of Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile a couple of numbers in nearly brought the house down.

He’d  got us – from there on it was all downhill.  Two hours of soul, blues, funk and rock followed, with each number drawing huge applause.  Lachy’s own numbers such as The Only Cure For The Blues Is The Blues, Making It Up As I Go Along, and the storming Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give A Damn were certainly superb, but the biggest applause went to astonishingly good covers of Procul Harum’s Whiter Shade Of Pale, and Chicago’s I’m A Man.  There were set pieces, there was some jazz-like improv, and there were spaces for solos, but the trio was always tight as gnat’s armpit when it mattered.

It’s hard to stay away from superlatives.  My friend described the man as “awesome”.  Another word I heard used by several people was “genius”, and “virtuoso”.  We certainly saw and heard something very special.  The evening ended with an encore, a standing/ stomping/ clapping ovation, and another encore.  Astonishing, great entertainment.

And finally a big shout-out (yet again) to all those who made this possible – stage set-up, the light show, spot-on sound, and general organisation from Longcroft Productions.  All very professional and well presented.  D-Town is indeed lucky to have you guys doing what you do.


2 thoughts on “REVIEW – Lachy Doley @ Corn Exchange, Devizes – Friday 9th December 2022”

  1. Lachy needs to do more UK shows. I’m an ex-pat Brit living in Sydney for last the last 13 years. I stumbled across lachy at Thredbo Blues festival so.e years ago and was totally blown away. Phenomenal performer who deserves to be huge…

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