Eric Gales // Danny Bryant // Live Review // The 1865 // Southampton
Saturday evening saw me heading down to The 1865 venue in Southampton, looking forward to seeing the man himself live, Mr Eric Gales. Now Eric has been hailed as one of the best guitar players in the world by many of his peers, including the blues maestro himself Joe Bonamassa. Was this all hype, or was I about to witness a living legend in the guitar world?
Support tonight was from the UK’s very own Danny Bryant, who was just happy to be back on stage playing in front of a live audience again after all the disruption of the past few years.
Danny took to the stage at his allotted time of 8 pm and armed with his trusty Stratocaster, just started playing some wonderful blues. Danny has a large back catalogue of music and had plenty of tunes to fill his 50-minute slot with ease. He has a cheeky boy persona whilst interacting with the audience in between songs, and said how happy he was to be playing for them all live again. It was a set filled with epic guitar solos played with emotion and precision and was a great way to warm up the full house.
9:20 pm saw the lights dim and 5 silhouettes take to the stage and the anticipation in the crowd was there to be felt. The lights went up and we caught our first glimpse of the enigmatic Mr Gales himself. He hit us straight away after a little bit of an intro then ‘Smokestack Lightning’. Before the next track, he had a chat with the audience and asked “If they knew what the blues was?” One guy shouted out “haven’t got a f’kin clue” to which Eric applauded his honesty. This led us into ‘You Don’t Know The Blues’, which was the first of many tracks that made up the set from the award-winning new album ‘The Crown’ released earlier this year.
As I said the rest of the set was made up mostly of tracks from the new album which Is excellent but to see and experience them live is a whole other ball game. On record or whichever format you listen to your music on, the production quality makes for an almost perfect listen which is great, but what it lacks is the heart and soul and emotions of a live performance, and that is exactly what we were treated to tonight here in Southampton. It was a virtuoso performance of a man that clearly is at the top of his game and makes that axe sing like a bird, or howl like a wolf depending on the need.
My personal favourite of the night for me was ‘Put That Back’ which is just one of the funkiest tracks that I have heard in a long long time since my days of watching Prince. Hearing this played live was magical and I am very grateful to have been there to witness it in the flesh.
He had the crowd in the palm of his hands from the start when he first interacted with them, and this continued throughout with the audience lapping up every part of this show, and it was a show, and Eric is one of the game’s greatest showmen.
It was an excellent night filled with wonderful music and the chance to catch an absolute musical legend in the making at his peak. Go check out his brand new album ‘The Crown’ and catch him live if you can, but also check out Danny Bryant who also played a wonderful set.