The Empire Music Hall host many an artist across all the genres, Blues is especially at home in Belfast where it’s most famous son Gary Moore played so often over the years, and other Irish greats such as Rory Gallagher walked these streets.
Tonight however was the time of another great Bluesman, English born Danny Bryant, no stranger to Belfast, Danny is a regular on the circuit and comes through Ireland regularly and it is something that is well appreciated and respected by the local fans. Tonight was night 54 of Danny’s current tour and dovetailing his latest release Revelation, we would catch a smaller four-piece set-up live and in the raw.
Supporting Danny is local artist Alison McGrath, Warrenpoint local who has laid down the foundation for a successful career locally with her smooth vocal style and beautiful melodic harmonies that resonate well with her audience. Alison has a swagger and a charm about her that lights up any room, tonight she is performing as a three piece acoustic that ebbs and flows seamlessly throughout her set.
Reminiscent of Eva Cassidy and the likes her soft and eloquent way allows for a charming performance all round and a great start to the evenings proceedings.
Danny takes to the stage around 9pm, time to ramp things up! Performing as a four-piece band this evening the stage allows a bit more room than their previous appearance in Belfast as a nine piece, but the Empire Music Hall has seen it all over the years and its beautiful surroundings offer the perfect setting for an artist like Danny and the boys. Immediately they rip into a bluesy shuffle, with Steve on keys and his Hammond sound it perfectly compliments Danny’s intricate guitar work. Mesh that with a solid rhythm backline and you have one tight band.
Danny ran through a selection of old fan favourites as well as new numbers off his latest release Revelation. Throwing in more than a few of his personal favourite cover songs including Little Wing and Knocking On Heavens Door the crowd was treated to a wide range of musical styles all wrapped up in Danny’s signature Blues sound. On fine form Danny brought out all the tricks with poise and technical ability he married his crazy licks with the backbone of Steve on Keys and Alex on Bass beautifully.
After a cheeky walk off stage and re-appearance for an encore Danny lit up the room once again with an instrumental number and finally Knocking On Heavens door with a beautiful extended solo. The crowd get to their feet in appreciation of this fine bluesman and his trusty band of brothers for what was another magical night of music in one of Belfast’s finest music venues.
You’ll be able to catch Danny in Glasgow this evening and upcoming festival dates.
Glasgow, Oran Mor Thursday 14 June
Cleethorpes Blues Festival Saturday 16 June
Stamford Blues Festival Sunday 17 June