Review: Willie & The Bandits – The New Continental, Preston: Sunday, 19th October

Posted on: Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

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Review for WILLE AND THE BANDITS @ The New Continental, Preston – 19.10.14 http://www.willeandthebandits.com/

A treat was in store for the audience this evening at the versatile venue of the New Continental in Preston. Opening the show were Spiral Scouts, a five piece who are a collective band, playing popular folk with songs penned by George Spittal. Following was Mark Black, a singer/songwriter from Donegal. He was playing a solo set tonight, with exceptional 12 string guitar and stomp, providing a mix of blues and country with Celtic overtones. He also uses a mic’d up didgeridoo which gave an amazing sound.

Now for what we had been waiting for. The amazing Wille and The Bandits … and they didn’t disappoint. Hailing from Cornwall, their music covers a wide range of genres from roots fusion and rock to blues and world music. Fronting the band, the versatile Will Edwards on powerful lead vocals, lap slide and guitar. He was supported by the incredibly talented bass player, Matt Brooks on upright bass and six string electric bass, with the power house and rhythmic genius of percussionist Andrew Naumann on drums, tom tom and glockenspiel. They have three exceptional albums under their belt and tonight was part of the tour to promote their fourth album ‘Live From Gouvy’ which has only been on sale at the gigs so far.

Some great showmanship in the openers and hitting the spot with ‘Mammon’, from the ‘Breakfree’ album, a beautifully put together slow melodic track. Plenty ‘rock’ and raw acoustic slide guitar work to follow and excellent electric lap slide from Will, as well as outstanding vocals. Bringing in a bit of their own individual blues style on Robert Johnson’s classic number ‘Crossroads’ was a great take. Some class bass playing on upright and six string bass was evident throughout the evening from Matt.

‘Running With The Stars’ from the ‘Breakfree’ album, had a leaning towards country, with lap slide and an input of reggae. Consistently varied drum patterns and percussion input on so many of the numbers puts Andrew in a class of his own.

The guys played the track ‘Trouble Down The Line’. This was put together last year in aid the victims of the Cornish and SW flooding and can still be purchased as a download. Moving on to one of the most popular tracks from the highly successful ‘Grow’ album, gave us a superb rendition of ‘Gypsy Woman’. Finishing the evening with ‘Angel’, probably my favourite and another exceptional track from the Grow album, a haunting song with a fantastic bass solo. Mark Black also joined them on this number with his didgeridoo, so ending the set.

The enthusiastic audience demanded more … and rightly so. The encore was a great ‘Wille style’ take on the Dire Straits number ‘Money For Nothing’ and what an excellent number to end this memorable evening. They are a brilliant band to see live and hold the attention of the audience well. As a three piece their sound is huge and varied and it’s great to break away from the standard band format with their fantastic musicianship that crosses so many boundaries of musical genre. Wille and The Bandits are a band I would rate highly.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer
http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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