Don't we all have friends who come in and out of our lives, but when they're in them, it's like they never left? They show up and it's instant camaraderie again. You start laughing, carrying on, and acting as though you had just seen them a day before, but it might have been months or years. Know what I mean?
My man Jeff was in town. He loves live rock 'n' roll, and has an adventurous spirit. Basically, he's up for whatever show is rolling through town, which sort of sounds like yours truly. We don't get to see each other much, but we've been able to catch some great shows in the past. It's what we do. Who have we seen? Well, Low Cut Connie, Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, the Heavy Pets. Some of these bands we just went to see without knowing anything about them, while others are BRP legends and the timing was just so choice.
This trip, the choices were not abundant. I hunted and finally decided to go see Davy Knowles after watching a couple of his videos on YouTube. It helped that he was playing at the Ardmore Music Hall, which is just so close, and he only wanted $20 for the performance. What the heck, if it sucks we'll split early and go find something else to do.
Well, he didn't suck. In fact, he was damn good. For those who don't know about him, and that would be many people, Knowles is a blues guitarist from that known blues hotspot, the Isle of Man. He's mainly a self-taught guitarist who was heavily influenced by Dire Straits, Cream and Celtic music. Yeah, that's some stuff right there. He has solo albums and has also been a front man for Back Door Slam. He plays a well worn Fender Stratocaster, and for a guitar slinger, he isn't always changing guitars and messing with his soundboard. It's refreshing.
Jeff and I got there early and grabbed a choice spot right in front of the stage. Davy basically played right in front of us all night, ripping off guitar licks that were eye-popping. He stuck to blues numbers, some of which I knew, many of which I didn't. No worries on that - the blues performed live are fantastic even if you don't know the songs. To me, they are accessible and full of human emotion and struggle. I love that stuff.
I was also impressed with AMH on this night. It wasn't sold out but there was a healthy crowd. There was energy but no bumping and grinding, and I had perfect sight lines, and the mix was spot on. I'm usually not a fan of the venue, but I'll give it credit when it's due.
Here are a couple of tracks from Davy - some of which are old - that give you a feel for how good he is. I forgot to mention that he has a pretty good blues voice, and that is amply demonstrated in the first video. Enjoy:
Davy had a good band, too, in particular this dude on keyboards. I don't know his name, but oh my, he could play. There is a particular solo I have in mind where he had the crowd screaming and Davy simply smiling and shaking his head. Indeed, it was that good.
Davy brought along another treat. The opener was Jamie McLean, a great New Orleans guitarist who has played with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Aaron Neville. He brought along the sound of his city, a great mix of blues, funk, jazz and rock. He ripped through a terrific set, and then came out and played with Davy. The latter was Fun with a capital F. The two savants traded guitar licks, trying at first to mimic, and then ultimately to top the other. Spontaneous stuff like that doesn't happen that much, and it felt like being in someone's basement back in the old days. Except, of course, the musicianship was top notch.
I don't know who that couple was in the foreground of the pictures of McLean, but talk about bringing it - they danced the entire evening and had a blast. I boogied, sure, but didn't bust the patented moves for which I'm famous (infamous?). I admired them for getting right out front and having a blast. We all ought to be like that more often than we are.
There you have it. Jeff comes to town, I search for a show, we attend one by an obscure dude that blows us away, and we leave satisfied and happy. It doesn't always work out that way, but then again, the magic of BRP can envelop everyone and make them feel like partying at 100 mph. Hahaha, if only!
It's magic time at BRP. I have a few more shows to write up - 3 to be exact and another one coming up this week - so there should be plenty of reason for you to swing by. I'm trying to keep up with my own life at this point. Here's a proposal for you: you come on around and let me know you're reading, and I'll keep posting. Deal? Let's shake on it.
I'll catch up with you later.
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.