Review: Band of Friends – Live Lounge at The Cavern, Mathew Street, Liverpool: Sunday, 18th October

Posted on: Monday, Oct 19, 2015

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To cap off a great weekend for all devotees of the late, great Irish rock and blues master, Rory Gallagher – following on from Saturday’s 20th Annual British Tribute Concert in Manchester – Band of Friends made a welcome return to The Cavern in Liverpool.

This is as close as it is probably possible is to capture the power and excitement of a Rory gig, with the band comprising of long-time bass player, Gerry McAvoy, who was at the great man’s side for 20 years and played on most of his recordings; drummer Ted McKenna, who held down the drum stool from 1977-81, playing on several albums, and with The Sensational Alex Harvey and Michael Schenker Group on his CV, amongst many; and the man with possibly the most difficult job, the brilliant Dutch guitarist and singer Marcel Scherpenzeel.

The band say they are not merely a tribute, but deliver a true celebration of Rory Gallagher’s music, and a very decent Sunday afternoon gathering of fans in the intimate surroundings of The Cavern’s Live Lounge were treated to a fantastic 100-minute set of favourite’s from many years and albums, together with a couple of the band’s own songs from their CDs.

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Powered by the superb rhythm section of McAvoy and McKenna, who drove the music along, Marcel Scherpenzeel delivered some brilliant guitar, and he has a more than serviceable voice to carry off all the material. The trio started off in fine style with an opening blast of “Cradle Rock” and then “The Last Of The Independents”. The bluesy side of Rory’s music was not neglected, with a great “I Wonder Who”, with top playing from all the band.

A highlight of the show for me was though that the music is definitely taken seriously and with reverence, but they also have fun and lots of sheer enthusiasm, with great interplay and cajoling between Marcel and Gerry – who was also urging the crowd on to get involved . . . not that they needed much! Further treats included the ever-popular “Moonchild”, the great riff of “Bought And Sold”, before several of the ‘big hitters’ were delivered towards the end of the show.

The beautiful “A Million Miles Away” was delivered in fine style, with more glorious guitar; and the copper-bottomed classic “Tattooed Lady” and the pile-driving “Shadow Play” . . . kudos to the band all round, who created a superb sound that was lapped up by the devotees present. A brace of encores included a rip-roaring “Bullfrog Blues” – always my favourite tune from the great man, and it was a joy to be present for this set.

GRAHAME RHODES

http://www.bandoffriends.eu/

http://www.cavernclub.org/

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