Review: The Robi Zonca Band at the Warrington RnB Club – 26 Oct 2007

Posted on: Monday, Oct 29, 2007

This wasn’t Italian singer/guitarist Robi Zonca’s first visit to Warrington. His first appearance, together with fellow guitarist, Stefano Galli, was as an acoustic support act to Memo Gonzalez in 2006. Such was their impact then that they were invited back to the club with their full band. The line-up on this occasion was completed by a top notch rhythm section.

The vast majority of the numbers performed comprised original material, starting with the medium-paced shuffle “New York City Blues” and the upbeat and funky “Nothing”, with Robi on husky vocals and lead guitar. On the country ballad, “My Baby She’s Gone”, and the lively boogie, “Just A Little Bit”, Stefano Galli took over lead guitar duties, offering a gentler alternative to Zonca’s spiky approach. “Hey Man”, a bluesy ballad written jointly by the two guitarists, led into the first cover of the evening – a bouncy rockabilly treatment of “Got My Mojo Working”. The lively rocker, “Night Time” featured some lovely interplay between Robi and Stefano and some tasty phrasing from the engine room. The first set was completed with the slow and funky “Never Lie”, complete with a splendid guitar solo from Zonca.

The second set opened with “Rebel”, another brilliantly performed funky blues and the title track of the band’s latest album. There followed a wonderful miscellany of blues-oriented, if not strictly blues, numbers. There was a terrific version of Stevie Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and a rousing, original instrumental, “Brown Panther”, on which both guitarists excelled and the rhythm section was impressively tight. After “Kansas City”, there was a fine delivery of Cream’s Brit rock classic, “Sunshine Of Your Love” and the subsequent number in similar vein was concluded with a diversion into The Who’s “My Generation”. A final shuffle, by way of an encore, brought the excellent show to an end.

Apart from the high standard of the lead vocals and instrumental artistry, special mention must be made of the superior quality of the backing harmonies provided by Stefano Galli and the drummer – far higher than the average. On the downside, following the two encouragingly large attendances at the two previous gigs at Warrington, the small turnout was particularly disappointing. However, when news of the band’s highly entertaining performance spreads, it is very likely that a return visit would attract a considerably fuller house. It would certainly be merited.

Lionel Ross

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